Johnson points out that in the afternoon hearing with the House Intelligence Committee, there were instances when the response seemed to be more official. Asked by Republican Devin Nunes of California how many times a Russian lawyer met with Glenn Simpson of Fusion GPS, Mueller also said, “I take your question.” In that case, it appeared more likely to indicate that he doesn’t know the answer but that it’s theoretically knowable, rather than indicating his distaste for the query.

Witnesses prepped for testimony are often given a series of possible responses designed to defuse tension. The last thing Mueller would want to do in a situation like the one with Gohmert is to get in a back and forth dialogue. Johnson believes he likely used “I take your question” to acknowledge there was one but also to deflect the rant.

“It’s a way of saying ‘noted,’” she explains. “There are different ways in which you can use that, so we still have to interpret. But I think Gohmert could put in a question.”

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