Trump changes tune, says he 'might' watch part of Mueller testimony

President TrumpDonald John TrumpTrump conversation with foreign leader part of complaint that led to standoff between intel chief, Congress: report Pelosi: Lewandowski should have been held in contempt 'right then and there' Trump to withdraw FEMA chief nominee: report MORE on Monday acknowledged he might watch some of Robert MuellerRobert (Bob) Swan MuellerLewandowski says Mueller report was 'very clear' in proving 'there was no obstruction,' despite having 'never' read it Fox's Cavuto roasts Trump over criticism of network Mueller report fades from political conversation MORE's testimony on Capitol Hill this week as he renewed his attacks against the former special counsel's credibility.

"No, I’m not going to be watching — probably — maybe I’ll see a little bit of it. I’m not going to be watching Mueller because you can’t take all those bites out of the apple," Trump told reporters in the Oval Office during a meeting with the Pakistani prime minister.

ADVERTISEMENT

Trump on Friday said he would not be watching, but changed his tune as he lit into Mueller before his highly anticipated testimony on Wednesday.

Trump asserted that Mueller found "no collusion" in his report, issued earlier this year, and that Attorney General William BarrWilliam Pelham BarrGOP signals unease with Barr's gun plan NRA says Trump administration memo a 'non-starter' Sinema touts bipartisan record as Arizona Democrats plan censure vote MORE "was easily able" to rule that the president did not obstruct justice.

"This thing should have ended a long time ago," Trump said. "This has been going on for 2 1/2 years, and we’re never going to allow this to happen again because most of them wouldn’t be able to take it."

Trump revived his grievances that Mueller is "best friends" with former FBI Director James ComeyJames Brien ComeyNadler's House committee holds a faux hearing in search of a false crime We've lost sight of the real scandal Former Obama officials willing to testify on McCabe's behalf: report MORE, though it is not clear that the two were more than colleagues.

He also asserted that Mueller is conflicted because he interviewed for the FBI director's job and because of a business issue involving a Trump property.

Mueller's 448-page report addressed both of those claims. 

Former top White House adviser Stephen Bannon told federal investigators that Mueller did not go to the White House seeking to become FBI director for a second time, and was instead invited to offer “a perspective on the institution” to the president.

Mueller’s report also addressed his membership at Trump National Golf Club in Sterling, Va., saying he wrote a resignation letter in October 2011 explaining “we live in the District and find that we are unable to make full use of the club” and inquiring about a partial refund for his initiation fee.

The special counsel has said he does not intend to deviate in his testimony from the findings of his report, which did not establish a conspiracy between the Trump campaign and Russian government, and neither implicated nor exonerated Trump on obstruction charges.

But Democrats believe that having Mueller testify on camera about his findings could spark new interest into the debate over whether to impeach Trump, and deliver a televised spectacle to Americans unwilling to read his full report.

Trump scoffed at the prospect of impeachment on Monday, referencing a vote last week to table articles of impeachment introduced by Rep. Al GreenAlexander (Al) N. GreenTen notable Democrats who do not favor impeachment Methane emissions continue to drop Two coal miners demand McGrath stop using their images in McConnell attack ad MORE (D-Texas).

"They tried an impeachment vote and they got slaughtered last week. They got absolutely slaughtered," Trump said. "I have a lot of respect for the Democrats because most of them voted against impeachment last week. And I have a lot of respect for those Democrats that did that."

The barbs toward Mueller at the press availability with the Pakistani prime minister were the second time Trump has gone after the special counsel on Monday. 
 
In a pair of tweets earlier in the day, Trump repeated his claim that Mueller is “highly conflicted” and accused him of leading a “ridiculous Witch Hunt.” The president for more than two years has leveled both charges in an attempt to undermine Mueller’s credibility.

Trump, who tends to fixate on cable television coverage, is set to attend a fundraiser in West Virginia on Wednesday evening, but otherwise has a light schedule.