WASHINGTON - U.S. President Donald Trump, in Europe to commemorate the 75th anniversary of D-Day, took time Thursday to unleash new broadsides at political targets back home for their roles in investigating him, special counsel Robert Mueller and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi.
Trump contended in a Fox News interview that Mueller made "such a fool" of himself last week when he delivered his first and only public statement on his 22-month investigation of Russian meddling in the 2016 U.S. presidential election and whether Trump, as president, obstructed justice by trying to thwart it.
Mueller said that with the long-time Justice Department policy forbidding the filing of criminal charges against sitting presidents, "Charging the president with a crime was not an option we could consider." Even so, Mueller said, "If we had confidence that the president clearly did not commit a crime, we would have said that" and declined to exonerate him of obstruction allegations. Instead, Mueller said that prosecutors made no determination on whether charges were warranted.
Attorney General William Barr and then-Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein had earlier decided charges were not warranted against Trump, with Barr saying that Mueller had assured him, as he wound up his investigation, that he was not saying that obstruction charges would have been warranted absent the Justice Department policy banning charges against a sitting president.
Trump noted that after Mueller made his public statement, the Justice Department and Mueller's office clarified there was "no conflict" between their views. Trump claimed that Mueller had "to straighten out his testimony because his testimony was wrong." Mueller has not testified before any Congressional committees about his report.
With Mueller declining to clear Trump of obstruction allegations, about a quarter of opposition Democrats in the Democratic-controlled House of Representatives have called for Trump's impeachment or the start of an impeachment inquiry, which Trump says is unwarranted.
Pelosi has resisted calls to open an impeachment proceeding against Trump, preferring to continue wide-ranging House committee investigations of the obstruction allegations, Trump's finances and other Trump administration policies during his 29-month presidency.
But the political news site Politico reported that she told Democratic colleagues in a meeting this week, "I don't want to see him impeached, I want to see him in prison." Pelosi has said she prefers to defeat Trump in the 2020election and then prosecute him for his alleged crimes once he is out of office.
"Nancy Pelosi, I call her Nervous Nancy," Trump said, saying he does not care whether Democrats call Mueller to testify about his investigation. "Nancy Pelosi is a disaster, OK? Let her do what she wants. You know what, I think they're in big trouble."