Trump attacks Mueller ahead of testimony on Russia probe, Latest World News - The New Paper

Trump attacks Mueller ahead of testimony on Russia probe

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WASHINGTON: US President Donald Trump attacked Mr Robert Mueller on Monday, even as he insisted he would not watch the Special Counsel's potentially damaging congressional testimony this week about the two-year Russia probe.

Days before Mr Mueller testifies - answering questions for the first time about his probe into Russian election meddling and Mr Trump's alleged obstruction - the President repeated his claim it was a biased "witch hunt".

He also repeated his false claim that Mr Mueller's final report, released in April, found no collusion with Russia by the 2016 Trump campaign team and no obstruction of justice by Mr Trump himself.

"Highly conflicted Robert Mueller should not be given another bite at the apple. In the end it will be bad for him and the phoney Democrats in Congress who have done nothing but waste time on this ridiculous witch hunt," he tweeted.

Mr Trump told reporters he would not be watching Mr Mueller's much-awaited appearance.But White House officials and his lawyers will be monitoring what Mr Mueller tells members of the Democratic-led House Judiciary and Intelligence committees.

Mr Mueller's report documents extensive contacts between the Trump campaign and Russians, including attempts to cooperate or collude, neither of which is a specific crime. But he ruled in the end there was not enough evidence to recommend charges of criminal conspiracy, the main legal charge he could make use of.

The former Federal Bureau of Investigation director laid out 10 instances when Mr Trump allegedly tried to obstruct the investigation. But Mr Mueller said he was prevented from recommending charges against him as Justice Department rules prohibited him from lodging criminal charges against a sitting president.

That left it to Congress to determine whether Mr Trump committed a crime, and a minority of Democrats are pressing for the House to impeach the President.

How Mr Mueller describes the obstruction allegations could make his testimony explosive, impacting the pressure to impeach Mr Trump and his re-election campaign.

"We want the American people to hear directly from Special Counsel Mueller on what his investigation found," Representative Jerry Nadler, chairman of the House Judiciary Committee said on Sunday.

"The report presents very substantial evidence that the President is guilty of high crimes and misdemeanours," he said, using the legal phrase that serves as the basis for impeachment. - AFP