Trump knocks Mueller after deal struck for him to testify

President TrumpDonald John TrumpRepublicans aim to avoid war with White House over impeachment strategy New York Times editorial board calls for Trump's impeachment Trump rips Michigan Rep. Dingell after Fox News appearance: 'Really pathetic!' MORE knocked former special counsel Robert MuellerRobert (Bob) Swan MuellerJeffries blasts Trump for attack on Thunberg at impeachment hearing Live coverage: House Judiciary to vote on impeachment after surprise delay Trump says he'll release financial records before election, knocks Dems' efforts MORE on Friday and Saturday after he struck a deal with the House Intelligence and Judiciary committees to give extended testimony.

The July 24 testimony will help illuminate Mueller’s report into Russia's election interference and potential obstruction of justice by Trump for a nationally televised audience.

Seeking to preempt the appearance, the president turned to Judicial Watch, a conservative advocacy group, to hit at the former special counsel. 

“This is one of the most horrible abuses of all. Those texts between gaga lovers would have told the whole story. Illegal deletion by Mueller,” Trump tweeted Saturday morning, quoting a video from Judicial Watch founder Tom Fitton accusing Mueller of a “HUGE” cover-up.

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Trump was referring to missing text messages between former investigators Lisa Page and Peter Strzok, two FBI agents who were involved in a romantic relationship, in which they bashed the president during the 2016 campaign.

Strzok was swiftly removed from Mueller’s team after the texts were unearthed, and a Justice Department investigation found that while the messages did go missing for a time, their absence was attributed to a technical error rather than any malicious intent. 

The president retweeted several of Judicial Watch’s messages, including one that said the Mueller probe was “part of an effort to remove the president from office improperly.”

Trump also promoted Fox News host Sean HannitySean Patrick HannityNew York Times editorial board calls for Trump's impeachment McConnell: I doubt any GOP senator will vote to impeach Trump McConnell says he'll be in 'total coordination' with White House on impeachment trial strategy MORE’s special Friday night bashing Mueller after the agreement for testimony was agreed upon.

Mueller’s July 24 appearance will feature a three-hour testimony before the Judiciary panel and a two-hour testimony before the Intelligence panel. The agreement, which pushed the testimony back a week, was reached to allow every member of the Judiciary Committee to question the former special counsel.

“All members — Democrats and Republicans — of both committees will have a meaningful opportunity to question the Special Counsel in public, and the American people will finally have an opportunity to hear directly from Mr. Mueller about what his investigation uncovered,” Rep. Jerry NadlerJerrold (Jerry) Lewis NadlerJudiciary members battle over whether GOP treated fairly in impeachment hearings Live coverage: House Judiciary to vote on impeachment after surprise delay House passes bill that would give legal status to thousands of undocumented farmworkers MORE (D-N.Y.), the chairman of the Judiciary Panel, and Rep. Adam SchiffAdam Bennett SchiffSunday Talk Shows: Lawmakers look ahead to House vote on articles of impeachment, Senate trial Supreme Court takes up fight over Trump financial records Democrats approve two articles of impeachment against Trump in Judiciary vote MORE (D-Calif.), the chairman of the Intelligence panel, said. 

While the hearing will allow Democrats to underline some of the more unsavory details about Trump’s conduct contained in the Mueller report, it’s revised timing just before the August recess will likely blunt a potential avalanche of calls for impeachment hearings stemming from the hearing.