President Donald Trump said Robert Mueller did a “horrible” job in both his testimony before two House committees on Wednesday and during his special counsel probe into Trump’s 2016 campaign and Russian election interference.
Speaking to reporters outside the White House after the hearing, Trump once again dismissed the special counsel’s investigation as a “ridiculous hoax” and “witch hunt.”
During his testimony on Wednesday, Mueller plainly stated that the investigation was not a witch hunt and confirmed that Trump could be indicted but only after he left office. He also confirmed that the special counsel report did not exonerate Trump, as the president has claimed repeatedly for months.
Trump summed up the hearing as a loss for Democrats.
“The Democrats had nothing, and now they have less than nothing,” the president said. “I think they’re going to lose the 2020 election very big, including congressional seats, because of the path that they chose.”
Although Trump spent months claiming “total exoneration” in Mueller’s report, the president contradicted that claim by telling reporters Wednesday that the special counsel “didn’t have the right to exonerate” him.
“That was something where he totally folded because he never had the right to exonerate,” Trump said.
Mueller also revealed in his testimony that Trump wasn’t always truthful in his written responses to the special counsel’s probe ― a moment Trump would later deny.
When asked about that statement by Mueller, Trump turned the question around and accused PBS “NewsHour” reporter Yamiche Alcindor of lying.
“He didn’t say that,” Trump falsely claimed. “When you ask that question, you’re untruthful.”
Mueller’s testimony directly contradicted a number of claims Trump has made during and after the investigation.
The former special counsel denied that his investigation into Russian influence in the 2016 campaign was a hoax, as Trump has said, reaffirming that Russia indeed interfered in the 2016 election and is actively interfering in elections now.
Mueller also denied Trump’s claim that he had an interview with the president to seek a position as FBI director.
Despite the contradictions, Trump appeared to see Mueller’s hearings Wednesday as ending in his favor.
“This whole thing has been three years of embarrassment and a waste of time for our country,” Trump told reporters.
This article has been updated with Trump’s comments to the media at the White House.