Trump Celebrates After Mueller Testimony in Which Report Does Not Exonerate Him

July 24, 2019 - 2:18 pm

President Trump expressed vindication during and after former special counsel Robert Mueller's marathon testimony on Capitol Hill Wednesday, even though Mueller made clear his report does not exonerate the president. 

"I thought we had a very good day today," the president told reporters on the White House South Lawn Wednesday afternoon before departing for a closed fundraiser in West Virginia. He added that the Russia investigation has been a very bad thing for the country. The president described the Republican congressmen on the committees who defended him as incredible warriors. 

But the president also blasted Mueller's performance, saying he did poorly.

"Performance was not very good — he had a lot of problems," the president told reporters.

Mr. Trump live-tweeted Fox News coverage of testimony Wednesday, and a senior administration official said it was "safe to say" the president was watching. The president tweeted or retweeted someone else's tweet 14 times during the hearings before the House Judiciary and Intelligence Committees. 

Asked about the fact that the testimony didn't exonerate him, the president said the special counsel "didn't have a right" to exonerate him. Mr. Trump in the past has insisted the report is a total exoneration. 

Mueller's testimony undercut key Trump claims about the investigation, including that it exonerates the president.

The president pinned a tweet to his Twitter profile thanking the Democrats for holding the hearing. 

"I would like to thank the Democrats for holding this morning's hearing. Now, after 3 hours, Robert Mueller has to subject himself to #ShiftySchiff - an Embarrassment to our Country!" the president tweeted midday, in a reference to House Intelligence Chairman Adam Schiff. 

Mueller generally stuck to the conclusions of his report Wednesday, often declining to comment and referring members of Congress back to that report. Mueller did shed light on a few questions, including why he chose not to subpoena the president. Mueller explained doing so would have taken up precious time, and he was sure Mr. Trump would have fought the subpoena in court.