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

The White House ridiculed former special counsel Robert MuellerRobert (Bob) Swan MuellerMueller report fades from political conversation Trump calls for probe of Obama book deal Democrats express private disappointment with Mueller testimony 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 TrumpSarah Huckabee Sanders becomes Fox News contributor The US-Iranian scuffle over a ship is a sideshow to events in the Gulf South Korea: US, North Korea to resume nuclear talks 'soon' MORE tweeted a similar message and derided House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam SchiffAdam Bennett SchiffLawmakers sound alarm on China's disinformation campaign in Hong Kong Trump: Jews who vote Democrat show 'lack of knowledge or great disloyalty' Are Democrats turning Trump-like? 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) WallaceBret Baier calls out Trump for lashing out at Fox News polls: 'Fox has not changed' The Hill's Morning Report - Trump on defense over economic jitters Chris Wallace becomes Trump era's 'equal opportunity inquisitor' 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 NadlerSecond Democrat representing Trump district backs impeachment GOP memo deflects some gun questions to 'violence from the left' House Democrats urge Trump to end deportations of Iraqis after diabetic man's death 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.