The Washington PostDemocracy Dies in Darkness

At site of D-Day ceremony, Trump calls Mueller ‘a fool,’ says Pelosi is ‘a disaster’

President Trump stands with World War II veterans during a ceremony to mark the 75th anniversary of D-Day at the Normandy American Cemetery in Colleville-sur-Mer, Normandy, France, on Thursday.
President Trump stands with World War II veterans during a ceremony to mark the 75th anniversary of D-Day at the Normandy American Cemetery in Colleville-sur-Mer, Normandy, France, on Thursday. (David Vincent/AP)

President Trump on Thursday called former special counsel Robert S. Mueller III “a fool” and derided House Speaker Nancy Pelosi as “a disaster” during a television interview conducted at the site of a solemn ceremony in France commemorating the 75th anniversary of the D-Day invasion.

During the interview with Fox News conducted ahead of a ceremony that paid tribute to soldiers who stormed a shore occupied by Nazi Germany 75 years ago, Trump said that Mueller — a former Marine who served in Vietnam — had made “such a fool out of himself” last week when he made a public statement regarding his investigation into Russian election interference.

Trump also referred to Pelosi (D-Calif.) as “Nervous Nancy.”

“Nancy Pelosi is a disaster, okay? She’s a disaster,” Trump said, according to excerpts released by Fox News. The full interview is scheduled to air Thursday night.

Special counsel Robert S. Mueller III on May 29 said his office could not reach a conclusion on obstruction of justice due to Department of Justice policy. (Video: The Washington Post, Photo: Salwan Georges/The Washington Post)

Pelosi, who attended Thursday’s ceremony, declined to respond, according to CNN. During a brief interview near the cemetery where nearly 10,000 American war dead are buried, she said she rather not criticize Trump while she is out of the country, according to a tweet by a CNN correspondent.

During his public appearance last week, Mueller said that his office could neither clear nor accuse Trump of obstructing his investigation into Russian election interference, citing a long-standing Justice Department opinion that a sitting president cannot be indicted.

During the Fox interview, Trump seized on a joint statement issued later that day by the special counsel’s office and the Justice Department clarifying that Mueller’s account did not conflict with Attorney General William P. Barr’s previous characterization of Mueller’s thinking.

“Let me tell you, he made such a fool out of himself . . . because what people don’t report is the letter he had to do to straighten out his testimony because his testimony was wrong,” Trump alleged to host Laura Ingraham, according to the excerpt released by Fox News.

As he exits, Mueller suggests only Congress can ‘formally accuse a sitting president of wrongdoing’

During his public appearance, Mueller cited the Justice Department policy and said that if his office “had confidence that the president clearly did not commit a crime, we would have said so.” He also said that the Constitution “requires a process other than the criminal justice system to formally accuse a sitting president of wrongdoing,” a reference to impeachment.

Barr previously testified to the Senate that Mueller had told him that he did not conclude that Trump had committed a crime and that he would have been charged if not for the Justice Department policy regarding indicting sitting presidents.

While some congressional Democrats suggested that Mueller contradicted Barr, the joint statement from the special counsel and Justice Department said there was “no conflict” between their statements.

Trump also personally attacked Mueller the day after his public appearance, leveling discredited accusations that the former special counsel had conflicts of interest that made him a biased investigator.

Trump, in tweets and in comments to reporters, accused Mueller of being a “true never-Trumper,” who was conflicted due to a past “business dispute” between them. He also alleged that Mueller asked him for a job.

But Trump’s conflict claims have been disputed by people familiar with his interactions with Mueller. Further, former White House aides told the special counsel’s office that they informed the president they were baseless when he started making them after then-Deputy Attorney General Rod J. Rosenstein selected Mueller to lead the investigation in May 2017.

Felicia Sonmez, Colby Itkowitz and Josh Dawsey contributed to this report.