Washington President Donald Trump appeared from the White House Wednesday afternoon and walked victoriously toward television cameras to announce Robert Mueller’s testimony on Capitol Hill conveyed a “very good day” for him and Republicans. He also demanded that the fiery hearings ended with Democratic lawmakers getting “less than nothing” with which to track their research into him.
It was the outstanding cap to a day that saw the former special counsel, under oath, approve the truth of cases of possible criminality by Trump detailed in his nearly 450-page report and afresh repeat that he had in no way pardoned the sitting President.
But for Trump, the optics of Democrats seemingly coming up empty in terms of new or condemning information were all that signified. His announcing of the moment he considered justification came as a glaring difference to how he began the day.
Trump irritated — not anxious — ahead of Mueller testimony
Wednesday had begun with the President restless at the prospect of Mueller’s witness, calling allies and the boot off a series of tweets confronting the former FBI director’s credibility ahead of his testimony. But after watching Mueller’s often tentative, gruff testimony come far short of Democrats’ hopes for a made-for-TV moment that might hurl a case for accusation, the President’s behavior shifted from annoyance to conquest.
“It was a very big day for our country, it was a very big day for the Republican Party and you could say it was a great day for me,” Trump said. “The Democrats had nothing and now they have less than nothing and I think they’re going to lose the 2020 election very big, Robert Muellerincluding congressional seats, because of the path they chose.”
Trump dishonestly ask for that Mueller had modified that statement — even though Mueller’s correction mentioned to a different part of his testimony — and lashed out at reporters who interrogated him about Mueller’s remarks, calling them “fake news.”
The moment was evocative of Trump’s long-lasting frustrations with his incapability to successfully claim “total and complete exoneration” regarding conspiracy and obstacle of justice, because Mueller did not reach a conclusion on the latter and only resolute that there was inadequate proof to charge members of Trump’s orbit with criminal collusion charges.
Trump was also miffed when reporters asked him about Mueller’s comments that he “generally” agreed that Trump’s written responses to him were not always truthful.
The President reiterated that his decision not to sit for an interview with Mueller during the investigation was “the right thing” because of the number of witnesses who were charged with lying to investigators.
Mueller was asked if Trump’s written responses were acceptable.
Here’s what he said 02:06
Trump was satisfied with the way Republicans from the House Judiciary Committee antagonistically questioned and lectured Mueller. And Rep. Mark Meadows, one of his key Republican allies on Capitol Hill who sat in on the hearing, visited the White House.
Trump had been in the residence for much of the morning, but later moved to the West Wing. And in spite of firstly claiming he would ignore the testimony, he kept a close eye on Mueller’s appearance.
Earlier Wednesday, the President falsely accused Mueller of having conflicts of interest relating to the inquiry, smeared Mueller’s team of prosecutors as “Angry Democrats” and once again announced “NO COLLUSION, NO OBSTRUCTION!” — Conclusions that Mueller did not reach in his report.
When the hearing got underway, Trump declared it a useless on Twitter, quoting a Fox News host who called the hearing a “disaster for Democrats” and — after the House Judiciary Committee hearing ended — thanked Democrats for holding the hearing.
The tweets reflected Trump’s persistent focus on Mueller and the possibility Democrats could use his report as a catalyst to launch an accusation inquiry.
Trump on Monday said he would “probably” not watch the testimony, before quickly saying he might “see a little bit of it.”
“The last three hours have been an epic embarrassment for the Democrats,” White House press secretary Stephanie Grisham said in a statement. “Expect more of the same in the second half.”
And Trump campaign communications director Tim Murtaugh appealed Democrats “took a big swing at it today and whiffed completely.”
Trump began firing off the string of tweets early Wednesday morning, pre-butting Mueller’s impending testimony on Capitol Hill. The attacks were reminiscent of Trump’s frequent attacks on Mueller during his time as special counsel, while he was conducting an investigation into the President and his associates — public efforts that were included in Mueller’s report as evidence of Trump’s efforts to undermine the Mueller investigation and public trust in the inquiry.
Trump accused Democrats Wednesday morning of having “illegally fabricate (d) a crime” and “pinning it on a very innocent President.” He once again characterized his efforts to interfere with the investigation — evidence of which is laid out in the Mueller report — as simply fighting back “against this illegal and treasonous attack on our Country” — another familiar trope Trump has used to undermine Mueller’s credibility.
Trump described Mueller’s investigation as “the Greatest Witch Hunt in U.S. history, by far!”
The President also suggested that Mueller applied and interviewed for the position of FBI director the day before he was tapped to serve as special counsel, a argument that is doubtful in the Mueller report, including by the President’s chief planner at the time Steve Bannon, who told investigators that the meeting was to “offer a perspective on the institution of the FBI.”
Mueller contradict that he met with Trump as a candidate for the FBI director opening, later on Wednesday.
Trump stopped tweeting a dozen minutes before Mueller seemed in the House Judiciary Committee hearing room to be confirmed in for his authentication, but returned to social media soon after 10 a.m. to quote Fox News anchor Chris Wallace, who claimed Mueller’s testimony “has been a disaster for the Democrats” and “a disaster” for Mueller’s status.