WASHINGTON — President Donald Trump on Wednesday described former Special Counsel Robert S. Mueller's upcoming testimony before two Democratic-led House panels as merely part of a phony probe that "never ends."
The House Judiciary and Intelligence committees announced Tuesday night that the former FBI director will testify during a joint July 17 hearing in what will be one of the biggest moments in Washington in some time.
"My reaction is it never ends. We had no obstruction ... no collusion," he told Fox Business. "It's hard to have obstruction when you have no crime."
Trump repeated that claim even though Mueller, in his final report, said there was evidence of obstruction of justice, but he lacked the authority to recommend indicting a sitting president due to decades-old Justice Department guidelines.
Mueller found no criminal-level coordination between Trump's 2016 campaign and Russia, but he did not exonerate the president on obstruction — and a growing list of House Democrats want to start impeachment proceedings as Speaker Nancy Pelosi of California continues trying to hold them off.
The president, who will hold trade talks at a G-20 summit in Japan later this week with Chinese President Xi Jinping, signaled a final pact on trade with China is unlikely by the time he heads to South Korea for the second half of his Asia swing.
"It's possible we'll make a deal, but I'm also happy where we are. We're taking in a fortune," he said of tariffs he slapped on over $200 billion worth of goods made in China. "We have to get a good deal."
He repeated his claim that many companies are moving production operations out of China due to his tariffs on goods made there. But, as always, he did not name any. Trump is scheduled to leave the White House to start his trip to the G-20 in Japan then to South Korea for talks about North Korea's nuclear program around 12:40 p.m. EDT.
The president dismissed a Fox Business anchor's contention that his tariffs are hurting the U.S economy and sidestepped her question about whether he actually believes Xi will agree to make it law in his country that China cannot, as the White House contends, steal U.S. companies' intellectual properties.
By John T. Bennett