President Trump told reporters Wednesday that special counsel Robert Mueller’s testimony before Congress disappointed Democrats who continue to grapple with whether to pursue impeaching him.
“They are devastated, the Democrats lost so big today,” Trump told reporters gathered on the White House lawn.
Trump, who had tweeted angrily about Mueller’s appearances before the House Judiciary and Intelligence committees, also took aim at the man who had investigated his 2016 presidential campaign’s ties to Russia.
“This was one of the worst performances in the history of our country,” Trump said of Mueller.
He added: "This was a very big day for our country. This was a very big day for the Republican Party. And you could say it was a great day for me, but I don't even like to say that."
Shortly after the president spoke to reporters, however, House Democrats offered a decidedly different assessment of Mueller’s testimony. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said it was a “historic” day, and that the country was “crossing a threshold” in its understanding of the findings of the Mueller report.
While Pelosi did not commit to opening an impeachment inquiry based on what she heard Wednesday, she said it remained a possibility depending on what a trio of House committees found in ongoing investigations.
“The Mueller investigation was prohibited from looking into the president’s finances, and that is what our committees of jurisdiction have been doing,” Pelosi said.
Rep. Jerry Nadler, D-N.Y., the chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, said, “Mueller made clear that the president is not exonerated.”
“The report said the president could be indicted for obstructing justice after he leaves office,” Nadler said, adding, “President Trump went to great lengths to obstruct the special counsel’s investigation.”
Nadler also said his committee would enforce its subpoena issued to former White House counsel Don McGahn.
Rep. Adam Schiff, D-Calif., the chairman of the Intelligence Committee, said Wednesday’s hearings showed that Trump’s actions since being elected had left American elections less secure.
“We go into this next election more vulnerable than we should be,” Schiff said.
But the most impassioned remarks at the Democrats’ news conference came from Rep. Elijah Cummings, D-Md., the chair of the House Committee on Oversight and Reform.
Lauding his fellow chairmen, Cummings called Mueller’s testimony “a giant step in making sure that the American people got a picture of all of this.”
On Trump’s denials of wrongdoing, Cummings said, “We refuse to accept it.”
“I’m begging the American people to pay attention to what’s going on,” Cummings added.
Pressed by reporters whether she was comfortable pursuing impeachment because it faces long odds in the Republican-controlled Senate, Pelosi argued that Democrats would continue to build their case against the president. But she said the endeavor would not be “endless.”
“If we have a case for impeachment, that’s the place we’ll have to go,” Pelosi said.