After a half dozen episodes of playing the man on “Saturday Night Live,” Robert De Niro is doing his best to offer professional advice to Robert Mueller. In a New York Times op-ed response to Mueller’s Wednesday morning press conference, the actor pleaded for the Justice Department’s outgoing special counsel to be more active in the aftermath of his investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election.
Displaying a surprising amount of deference to a man he’s spent the past few months trying to turn into a tool for comedy on broadcast television, De Niro wrote, “As I prepared for my role on the show, I got to know you a lot better. I read about your lifetime devotion to public service and your respect for the rule of law. I watched how you presided over the special counsel’s office apparently without leaks. And you never wavered, even in the face of regular vicious attacks from the president and his surrogates.”
Still, after Mueller’s impromptu announcement this morning — in which he stated that he would be closing the special counsel’s office and would not be appearing before any further congressional hearings on matters related to last month’s report on his findings — De Niro wants more.
“In your news conference, you said that your investigation’s work ‘speaks for itself.’ It doesn’t. It may speak for itself to lawyers and lawmakers who have the patience and obligation to read through the more than 400 pages of carefully chosen words and nuanced conclusions (with all due respect, as good a read as it is, you’re no Stephen King),” De Niro wrote.
Whether or not De Niro had some version of this chambered and ready to go before this morning’s surprise announcement is unclear. But this is far from the first time De Niro has been vocal about matters related to the current White House occupant. “Say what you will about the president — and I have — when it comes to that lying, exaggerating, bullying thing, no one can touch him,” De Niro wrote on Wednesday, referring to an ongoing string of public statements he’s made during the Trump tenure.
The New York Times op-ed is available in full here.