WASHINGTON — President Trump lashed out at the special counsel, Robert S. Mueller III, on Wednesday, dredging up false accusations about the conduct of investigators after House Democrats announced that Mr. Mueller would testify publicly next month.
The president offered no evidence as he repeated earlier accusations that Mr. Mueller destroyed text messages between two former F.B.I. officials, Peter Strzok and Lisa Page, who worked on the Russia investigation. “They’re gone and that is illegal,” Mr. Trump said of the texts in an interview with Fox Business Network. “That’s a crime.”
Mr. Trump was referring to a December Justice Department inspector general report that noted 19,000 text messages were lost because of technical problems, not intentionally deleted by Mr. Mueller or anyone.
Thousands of messages between Mr. Strzok and Ms. Page have been made public, many highly critical of the president. Both were criticized in an inspector general report last year on the Hillary Clinton email investigation, but it also said that bias had not affected the F.B.I.’s decision-making process. Another inspector general report on aspects of the Russia inquiry is due in the coming weeks or months.
Read the Mueller Report: Searchable Document and Index
The findings from the special counsel, Robert S. Mueller III, are now available to the public. The redacted report details his two-year investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election.
“It never ends,” Mr. Trump said about Democratic efforts to investigate his conduct. He repeated that Mr. Mueller’s report, released in April, found no collusion with the Russians, and he again offered a false assertion that he was cleared of obstruction of justice.
Mr. Mueller emphasized that Mr. Trump has not been cleared of obstruction crimes. “If we had had confidence that the president clearly did not commit a crime, we would have said so,” Mr. Mueller said in May in his only public remarks on the investigation.
Mr. Mueller had resisted testifying before congressional oversight committees on the Russia inquiry. But on July 17, in response to subpoenas, he is scheduled to answer questions in two back-to-back hearings before the House Judiciary and Intelligence Committees.
In response to the news about Mr. Mueller’s upcoming appearances on Capitol Hill, Mr. Trump on Tuesday tweeted, “Presidential Harassment!”
In a text message Wednesday morning, Rudolph W. Giuliani, one of Mr. Trump’s personal lawyers, dismissed Mr. Mueller’s planned testimony as a redundancy.
“I’ve seen this movie several times and I know the ending, and it should now end,” he wrote.
Nicholas Fandos contributed reporting.
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