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

The White House ridiculed former special counsel Robert MuellerRobert (Bob) Swan MuellerTrump says he'll release financial records before election, knocks Dems' efforts House impeachment hearings: The witch hunt continues Speier says impeachment inquiry shows 'very strong case of bribery' by Trump 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 John TrumpTrumps light 97th annual National Christmas Tree Trump to hold campaign rally in Michigan 'Don't mess with Mama': Pelosi's daughter tweets support following press conference comments MORE tweeted a similar message and derided House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam SchiffAdam Bennett SchiffWhite House adopts confident tone after Pelosi signals go on impeachment Democrats could introduce articles of impeachment next week The shifting impeachment positions of Jonathan Turley 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) WallaceImpeachment puts spotlight on Georgia Republican eyeing Senate Fox's Cavuto reads mean letters urging him to stay away after Trump criticism Trump gives shoutout to Doug Collins ahead of next phase of impeachment hearings 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 NadlerTurley: Democrats offering passion over proof in Trump impeachment GOP lawmaker: 'Amazing' Democrats would ask if Founding Fathers would back Trump impeachment Trump asks if Democrats 'love our country' amid ongoing impeachment hearing 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.