FILE PHOTO: U.S. President Donald Trump hosts an event honoring those working for Immigration and Customs Enforcement and Customs Border Protection at the White House in Washington, U.S., August 20, 2018. REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque/File Photo
WASHINGTON (Reuters) – President Donald Trump, reacting to U.S. congressional testimony by former Special Counsel Robert Mueller, said on Wednesday the Republican Party had a good day and reiterated his attacks on the Russia probe as a hoax and witch hunt.
Speaking to reporters as he departed the White House on a trip to West Virginia, Trump said Mueller, who told lawmakers his probe did not exonerate the president, did not perform well in testimony before two House of Representatives panels and would hurt the Democrats during the 2020 election campaign.
“So we had a very good day today, the Republican Party, our country. There was no defense of what Robert Mueller was trying to defend,” Trump said.
“Whether his performance was a bad one or a good one, I think everybody understands that. … There was no defense for this ridiculous hoax, this witch hunt that has been going on a long time,” he added.
Trump called it a “devastating day” for Democrats, saying: “I think they hurt themselves very badly for 2020.”
He said he did not believe he could be indicted after leaving office because he had not done anything wrong, despite Mueller’s testimony that Trump could, in fact, be prosecuted after his presidency.
“This has been a very bad thing for our country,” said Trump, who lashed out at reporters.
Mueller spent 22 months investigating what he concluded was Russian interference in a “sweeping and systematic fashion” in the 2016 U.S. election to help Trump as well as the president’s actions to impede the inquiry. The hearings before the House Judiciary Committee and House Intelligence Committee unfolded over seven hours.
Reporting by Jeff Mason; Writing by David Alexander; Editing by Peter Cooney