Mueller testimony drew fewer viewers than Comey, Kavanaugh, and Cohen hearings

Robert Mueller.
(Image credit: Jonathan Ernst - Pool/Getty Images)

Former Special Counsel Robert Mueller's congressional testimony wasn't quite the ratings hit that Democrats had hoped for.

Nielsen said on Thursday that an average of 13 million people tuned in to watch Mueller testify on Wednesday about his investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election, The Hollywood Reporter writes. This figure factors in those who watched the testimony via CNN, MSNBC, Fox News, ABC, NBC, and CBS.

This, The New York Times' Michael M. Grynbaum notes, is a smaller audience than several other highly-anticipated recent congressional hearings. In 2017, nearly 20 million people tuned in to see the testimony of former FBI Director James Comey, who spoke with Congress following his contentious firing by President Trump. Last year, about 20 million people watched the confirmation hearing for then-Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh, who faced allegations of sexual assault. And earlier this year, about 16 million people tuned in to the testimony of Trump's former lawyer, Michael Cohen, who accused the president of being a "racist" and a "conman."

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Mueller's testimony came three months following the public release of his report, which did not establish a criminal conspiracy between Trump's campaign and Russia and did not make a determination about whether Trump obstructed justice while laying out instances of potential obstruction. Mueller during the hearing was reluctant to provide direct answers to many questions, although he reiterated that he did not exonerate Trump in his probe and criticized the president's past praise of Wikileaks as "problematic." Trump has been quick to declare victory, telling reporters it was a "great day for me."

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Brendan Morrow

Brendan is a staff writer at The Week. A graduate of Hofstra University with a degree in journalism, he also writes about horror films for Bloody Disgusting and has previously contributed to The Cheat Sheet, Heavy, WhatCulture, and more. He lives in New York City surrounded by Star Wars posters.