ERIC TUCKER, MICHAEL BALSAMO AND CHAD DAY | Associated Press |
WASHINGTON — President Donald Trump blasted special counsel Robert Mueller on Thursday, calling him a “never Trumper” who led a biased investigation on Russia’s interference in the 2016 election and failed to investigate his opponents who didn’t want Trump to be president.
Trump’s eruption came a day after Mueller pointedly rejected his repeated claims that he was cleared of obstruction of justice allegations and that the two-year inquiry was merely a “witch hunt.”
The president also offered mixed messages on Russia’s efforts to help him defeat Democrat Hillary Clinton, first tweeting that he had “nothing to do with Russia helping me get elected,” then minutes later, telling reporters: “Russia did not help me get elected.”
Trump said Mueller, who is a Republican, was “conflicted” and should have investigated law enforcement officials who the president claims tried to undermine him.
“Robert Mueller should have never been chosen,” Trump said, adding falsely that Mueller wanted the FBI director job, but the president told him no. “I think Mueller is a true never Trumper. He’s somebody who didn’t get a job that he wanted very badly.”
Mueller, who was appointed special counsel by Trump’s Justice Department, was previously FBI director, appointed by Republican President George W. Bush.
Speaking to reporters on the White House South Lawn, Trump insisted that he’s been tough on Russia and that Moscow would have preferred Hillary Clinton as president. The special counsel’s report said Russian interference in the election helped Trump defeat Clinton,
Asked about impeachment by Congress, he called it a “dirty word” and said he couldn’t imagine the courts allowing him to be impeached. “I don’t think so because there’s no crime,” he said.