Trump attacks Mueller as a 'true never-Trumper' after admitting for first time that Russia helped elect him

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By Allan Smith  with NBC News Politics
Image: Donald Trump
President Donald Trump speaks with reporters as he departs the White House on May 30, 2019.   -   Copyright  Jim Watson AFP - Getty Images

President Donald Trump on Thursday went off on special counsel Robert Mueller while speaking to reporters outside the White House, calling him a "true never-Trumper" and saying he never should've been tapped as special counsel.

Trump's comments came one day after Mueller's first public remarks on his nearly two-year long stint overseeing the Russia investigation. Mueller said if his team "had confidence that he clearly did not commit a crime we would have said so," adding that his investigators "did not, however, make a determination to whether the president did commit a crime."

On Thursday, Trump said he thought Mueller's commentary was "the same as" his 400-plus page report on Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election, whether the Trump campaign or associates conspired with Russia in those efforts and if Trump sought to obstruct justice.

Of Mueller, Trump said he believes the special counsel was "certainly conflicted" because of "a business dispute" Mueller apparently had with Trump, in addition to "his relationship with" former FBI Director James Comey.

"I think Mueller is a true never-Trumper," the president said.

Trump has mentioned such a business dispute for years since Mueller was first tapped. According to Mueller's report, top Trump aides and advisers such as former White House Counsel Donald McGahn told Trump those perceived conflicts were "silly" and "not real."

Earlier Thursday, Trump tweeted that he had "nothing to do with Russia helping me to get elected." But he walked back that statement while speaking to reporters, saying "Russia did not help me get elected."

"I helped me get elected," Trump said. "Russia had nothing to do with it at all."

The president, as impeachment chatter has ramped up following Mueller's statement, also said impeachment is "a dirty, filthy, disgusting word."