Mueller uses term "generally true" - acceptable?

Would the legal scholars among us say that using the words “generally true” to answer the question “is it true or not” is allowed to stand legally? Having heard it used many times in the Mueller testimony today it struck me as - that isn’t right. Anyone?

I’m no legal scholar, but it is my impression that responses like that are fairly common, and call for a followup question like “in what way is it not true”. I haven’t heard the Mueller testimony yet, but if there was no followup, that’s a non-answer and the questioner didn’t do his job.

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Interesting … this happened several times and there was no followup - it was just said as part of the answer. I will expand my description of the question presented - it was not an “is it true or not” - that was only meant to set the scene. Mueller used the words “generally true” when he was making his responses.

RR, I would agree with that. His responses were very defensive and cognizant of possible perjury and contradiction. From both sides.

I didn’t watch any of it, so I don’t know the questions, but my gut reaction (as an attorney) is that that’s quite normal if the question is one that’s true in most cases, but false in some cases. The most common answer we give is “it depends” because most answers depend greatly on the circumstances. Generic questions asked without specific details rarely can be answered with a blanket yes or no.

People ask me legal questions all the time where they expect the answer to be yes or no, but it’s usually “it depends.”

Hmmmmmmm. If I was a Judge, I would not let that answer go unchallenged.

I think most would, though, because it’s not his/her job to make a case for either party. I will say, however, that I once heard a judge hear a question and just say “objection sustained” before the witness could answer and without the other attorney even making an objection. The attorney asking the question asked the judge why he sustained an objection that wasn’t made by the other attorney. The judge replied “well, you expected it with that question, didn’t you?”

But I think most of the time judges will just let bobbles go.

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Generally true is a common term in legal discourse. It means “true” while acknowledging that there may be an occasional outlier. Very few things are always and absolutely true, especially in the legal arena.

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Was it in response to a specific instance of something? Or was it a general question for which a wide range of instances exists? It is generally true that a person that falls from over a height of a mile will die. But there have been people that have survived it.

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