Trump claims he won't watch Mueller testimony because it's a "ridiculous Witch Hunt"

Rep. Jerrold Nadler is openly enthusiastic about Robert Mueller's upcoming testimony while Donald Trump blasts it

By Matthew Rozsa
Published July 22, 2019 2:30PM (EDT)

On Monday morning President Donald Trump attempted to preemptively discredit former special counsel Robert Mueller's upcoming appearance before the House Judiciary Committee.

"Highly conflicted Robert Mueller should not be given another bite at the apple. In the end it will be bad for him and the phony Democrats in Congress who have done nothing but waste time on this ridiculous Witch Hunt. Result of the Mueller Report, NO COLLUSION, NO OBSTRUCTION!" Trump posted in a tweet on Monday morning.

He later added, "....But the questions should be asked, why were all of Clinton’s people given immunity, and why were the text messages of Peter S and his lover, Lisa Page, deleted and destroyed right after they left Mueller, and after we requested them(this is Illegal)?"

Despite his apparent concern with the upcoming hearings, Trump also told reporters that he doesn't plan on watching Mueller's testimony. Last week he told reporters in front of the White House that "at some point they have to stop playing games. They’re just playing games. You know, I won’t be watching Mueller," according to Politico.

Trump's reference to "Peter S" (Peter Strzok) and Lisa Page refers to a pair of FBI agents who had an illicit affair and exchanged text messages that were critical of the future president. When questioned by Congress, however, Strzok demonstrated that it would have been impossible for the two of them to have undermined the president's legal fortunes through their positions, and emphasized that "at no time in any of these texts did those personal beliefs ever enter into the realm of any action I took. The suggestion that I'm in some dark chamber somewhere in the FBI would somehow cast aside all of these procedures, all of these safeguards, and somehow be able to do this is astounding to me — it simply couldn't happen."

By contrast, House Judiciary Chairman Jerrold Nadler has expressed enthusiasm for Mueller's upcoming appearance, telling "Fox News Sunday" that "we have to ... let Mueller present those facts to the American people, and then see where we go from there, because the administration must be held accountable." Although Nadler has publicly sided with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi in expressing reluctance to impeach Trump, privately he has pushed her for an open inquiry. He also told Fox News that there is "very substantial evidence" that Trump is "guilty of high crimes and misdemeanors," which would be an impeachable offense.

Mueller himself is reportedly working with Jonathan Yarowsky to help him prepare for his testimony on Wednesday. As Politico reported:

Over four decades as a Beltway attorney, Yarowsky offered impeachment advice to Bill Clinton, and worked for a lawmaker who Richard Nixon once called the “executioner.” He oversaw an unsuccessful push to get a 1990s-era Attorney General Bill Barr to appoint an independent counsel to probe the George H.W. Bush administration’s pre-Gulf War Iraq policies, and he handled fist-pounding document requests from Congress during the contentious Clinton years. Essentially, he’s been a part of some of the biggest “gate” controversies since Watergate — Iraqgate, Whitewatergate, Travelgate, Filegate.

Matthew Rozsa

Matthew Rozsa is a staff writer for Salon. He holds an MA in History from Rutgers University-Newark and is ABD in his PhD program in History at Lehigh University. His work has appeared in Mic, Quartz and MSNBC.

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All Salon Donald Trump Impeachment Jerrold Nadler Jonathan Yarowsky News & Politics Robert Mueller