Media members thrashed Robert Mueller's anticipated appearance Wednesday on Capitol Hill, calling the hearing a "disaster" for Democrats and saying the former special counsel was "boring" and didn't defend his work forcefully.
Mueller, as promised, largely stuck to the four corners of his 448-page report on the Russia investigation that lasted nearly two years. He gave numerous monosyllabic responses, at times seemed unsure of his own report's information, and declined to give Democrats the juicy soundbite they craved about the probe they believe is damning for President Donald Trump.
Fox News host Chris Wallace, who isn't shy about criticizing the Trump administration, called Mueller's first appearance in front of the House Judiciary Committee a "disaster for the Democrats" and a "disaster for the reputation of Robert Mueller."
MSNBC's Chuck Todd said it was a "disaster" in "optics" for Democrats, and MSNBC's Ari Melber said Mueller's showing ultimately didn't "land" the way Democrats wanted.
Former federal prosecutor Cynthia Alksne said on MSNBC that Mueller was "frustrating" in his refusal to answer certain questions and she "did not think it went well."
MSNBC analyst Jeremy Bash said Mueller "sucked the life" out of his own report and panned him as "boring," "lost at times" and unwilling to put up a defense of his investigation.
ABC legal analyst Dan Abrams called the first hearing a "bust" for Democrats, and ABC's Terry Moran declared "impeachment's over." CNN analyst David Gergen said Democrats performed solidly but the prospects of impeachment declined because of the hearing.
Yahoo reporter Michael Isikoff said on CNN that Mueller's performance was "uninspired," "confused at times" and he didn't persuade anybody.
Said Jonathan Turley on CBS: "It was like watching a passionate conversation with an answering machine." MSNBC's Chris Hayes said Mueller was "evasive," "restless," and did not at times "appear to have full command of the report that he issued."
CNN's Jake Tapper said Mueller did not come off as sharp at times and wondered if he was as well-versed with the report as some members of the panel he was on.
MSNBC host Nicolle Wallace, a staunch supporter of impeaching Trump, snapped "shame on them" to any of Mueller's staffers who "knew this is what would happen today."