White House: Mueller hearing an 'epic embarrassment' for Democrats

The White House ridiculed former special counsel Robert MuellerRobert (Bob) MuellerSenate Democrats urge Garland not to fight court order to release Trump obstruction memo Why a special counsel is guaranteed if Biden chooses Yates, Cuomo or Jones as AG Barr taps attorney investigating Russia probe origins as special counsel MORE's testimony Wednesday morning as "an epic embarrassment" for House Democrats.

"Expect more of the same in the second half," press secretary Stephanie Grisham wrote in a statement.

Minutes later, President TrumpDonald TrumpKinzinger says Trump 'winning' because so many Republicans 'have remained silent' Our remote warfare counterterrorism strategy is more risk than reward Far-right rally draws small crowd, large police presence at Capitol MORE tweeted a similar message and derided House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam SchiffAdam Bennett SchiffOvernight Hillicon Valley — Hacking goes global Schiff calls on Amazon, Facebook to address spread of vaccine misinformation Spotlight turns to GOP's McCarthy in Jan. 6 probe MORE (D-Calif.), who will oversee the second hearing of the day.

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"I would like to thank the Democrats for holding this morning’s hearing," Trump tweeted. "Now, after 3 hours, Robert Mueller has to subject himself to #ShiftySchiff - an Embarrassment to our Country!" 

The statements came after Mueller completed roughly three hours of testimony before the House Judiciary Committee. Mueller is set to testify before the Intelligence panel for another three hours in the afternoon.

Trump and his allies generally embraced Mueller's performance during the first half of the day, arguing that Democrats largely failed to advance the case for impeachment and noting that Mueller's testimony was mostly reserved and at times uneven.

Trump earlier in the day tweeted six times about the hearings before they began. He has since tweeted a pair of quotes from Fox News personalities who criticized Democrats and Mueller over their performances.

"This has been a disaster for the Democrats and a disaster for the reputation of Robert Mueller," Trump tweeted, quoting Fox News anchor Chris WallaceChristopher (Chris) WallaceBiden vaccine mandate puts McConnell, GOP leaders in a tough spot The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by National Industries for the Blind - Biden's .5 trillion plan will likely have to shrink Breyer says term limits would 'make life easier for me' MORE.

The president said before the hearing that he "might" watch some of it. His public schedule was open during the day Wednesday, with a fundraiser in West Virginia planned for the evening. 

Originally, Trump had said, "No, I won’t be watching Mueller,” but changed his tune early this week.

Mueller said ahead of the Judiciary hearing that he would not stray in his testimony from his team's 448-page report on the Russia investigation. He stuck to his promise, declining to answer a number of questions and referencing the report in response to numerous questions.

At the outset, however, he responded to questions from Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerrold NadlerJerrold (Jerry) Lewis NadlerOcasio-Cortez, Bush push to add expanded unemployment in .5T spending plan Angelina Jolie spotted in Capitol meeting with senators House panel advances immigration language for reconciliation bill MORE (D-N.Y.) that his report did not exonerate the president as Trump has repeatedly claimed, and that the report did not state there was "no obstruction."

--Updated at 1:15 p.m.