Mueller hearing an "epic embarrassment" for Democrats, White House says

The White House has just officially weighed in on the heading for the first time today.

Press Secretary Stephanie Grisham issued a statement just now: “The last three hours have been an epic embarrassment for the Democrats. Expect more of the same in the second half.”

While the president has tweeted a handful of times since the hearing got started, we expect to hear from him more fully around 4 p.m. when he leaves Washington for a fundraiser in West Virginia.

Rebecca Ballhaus

Former special counsel Robert Mueller defended his investigation as thorough and fair, and insisted it did not exonerate the president, in his first extensive public remarks since he began his nearly two-year inquiry.

But Mr. Mueller revealed little new during a more than three-hour hearing Wednesday before the House Judiciary committee, repeatedly directing lawmakers to his report and providing limited responses.

Mr. Mueller rebuffed Democrats' efforts to use his testimony to build momentum for probes against President Trump -- and pointedly avoided saying the word "impeachment" - while also defending his probe and the impartiality of his investigators amid sharp questioning from Republicans.

The hearing left Democrats with little new ammunition they had sought to build support for an impeachment inquiry into President Trump, and denied Republicans any admissions of missteps that could help them cast doubt on the credibility of his team’s work.

In the report, Mr. Mueller found insufficient evidence the Trump campaign conspired with Russia to interfere in the 2016 election, but drew no conclusion about whether the president obstructed justice, driven largely by longstanding Justice Department policy against indicting a sitting president

In the absence of a recommendation, Mr. Barr concluded Mr. Trump’s conduct didn’t rise to the level of a crime.


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