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.
"So we had a very good day today — the Republican Party, our country," Mr. Trump told reporters on the White House South Lawn before leaving for a closed fundraiser in West Virginia Wednesday afternoon. "There was no defense of what Robert Mueller was trying to defend, in all fairness to Robert Mueller, whether his performance was a bad one or a good one. I think everybody understands that."
But the president later blasted Mueller's performance, saying he performed poorly.
"His performance was obviously not very good," Mr. Trump told reporters. "He had a lot of problems but, what he showed more than anything else, was that this whole thing has been three years of embarrassment and waste of time for our country."
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.
"TRUTH IS A FORCE OF NATURE!" the president tweeted immediately upon the conclusion of the second round of questioning.
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,.
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.