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As Mueller testimony approaches, Trump can't look away

As Mueller testimony approaches, Trump can't look away
FILE PHOTO: U.S. Special Counsel Robert Mueller delivers a statement on his investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 U.S. presidential election at the Justice Department in Washington, U.S., May 29, 2019. REUTERS/Jim Bourg/File Photo -
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Jim Bourg(Reuters)
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WASHINGTON (Reuters) – President Donald Trump said on Monday he will watch only “a little bit” of Robert Mueller’s long-awaited congressional testimony on the results of his 22-month inquiry into Russian interference in the 2016 U.S. election and renewed his attacks on the former special counsel.

Mueller’s findings have kept Trump on the defensive since the Justice Department released a redacted version of the former FBI director’s report in April, as congressional Democrats struggle with whether to launch the impeachment process set out in the U.S. Constitution for removing a president from office.

Asked by reporters whether he would watch television coverage of Wednesday’s hearings before two Democratic-led House of Representatives committees, the Republican president said, “No, I’m not going to be watching, probably.” But he quickly added, “Maybe I’ll see a little bit of it.”

The committees are conducting their own investigations of Russia’s role in the 2016 election and the extensive contacts between the Trump campaign and Moscow detailed by Mueller.

Mueller’s report said the investigation found insufficient evidence to prove that Trump and his campaign engaged in a criminal conspiracy with Russia despite the numerous contacts. The report did not reach a conclusion on whether Trump committed the crime of obstruction of justice but did not exonerate him. Attorney General William Barr, a Trump appointee, subsequently concluded the president had not committed obstruction of justice.

Trump has attacked the Mueller investigation and the FBI inquiry that preceded it as a politically motivated “witch hunt” and repeated the words “No Collusion! No obstruction” in Twitter posts even though Mueller did not come to either conclusion.

Trump has lashed out repeatedly at Mueller, who has served under both Republican and Democratic presidents.

He kept up the attacks on Twitter on Monday: “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.”

(Reporting by Doina Chiacu; Editing by Will Dunham)

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