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Trump live-tweets portions of Mueller testimony

Posted at 3:02 PM, Jul 24, 2019

President Donald Trump started Wednesday ahead of Robert Mueller's testimony by making phone calls, agitated by the idea that the former special counsel would be appearing on Capitol Hill for his testimony.

He issued a series of early morning tweets attacking Mueller's credibility with a string of familiar lines that belied his professed lack of interest in the hotly anticipated testimony.

But sources say the President's demeanor has now changed from one of irritation to triumph.

Trump was pleased with the way Republicans from the House Judiciary Committee aggressively questioned and lectured Mueller. And Rep. Mark Meadows, one of his key Republican allies on Capitol Hill who sat in on the hearing this morning, appeared at the White House moments ago.

Trump had been in the residence for much of the morning, but later moved to the West Wing. He continues to keep a close eye on Mueller's second hearing before the House Intelligence Committee.

Earlier Wednesday, the President falsely accused Mueller of having conflicts of interest relating to the investigation, smeared Mueller's team of prosecutors as "Angry Democrats" and once again proclaimed "NO COLLUSION, NO OBSTRUCTION!" -- conclusions that Mueller did not reach in his report .

When the hearing got underway, Trump declared it a dud 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 relentless focus on Mueller and the possibility Democrats could use his report as a springboard to launch an impeachment inquiry, despite his claims in the last week that he was uninterested in watching Mueller's testimony.

Trump on Monday said he would "probably" not watch the testimony , before quickly saying he might "see a little bit of it."

Trump's change in mood was reflected in his Twitter feed and in proclamations by his allies that the first of two House hearings was a flop.

"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 claimed 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 also maintained that Mueller should have investigated "himself" and a slew of the President's political opponents and critics, including his former rival for the presidency Hillary Clinton, former FBI Director James Comey and others. And he again 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 contention that is disputed in the Mueller report, including by the President's chief strategist at the time Steve Bannon, who told investigators that the meeting was to "offer a perspective on the institution of the FBI."

Later on Wednesday, Mueller denied that he met with Trump as a candidate for the FBI director opening.

Trump stopped tweeting a dozen minutes before Mueller appeared in the House Judiciary Committee hearing room to be sworn in for his testimony, 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 reputation.