A day before ex-FBI special counsel Robert Mueller testifies before two congressional committees, Republican commentators are warning his appearance – to explain the investigation into Russian election hacking and possible instances of obstruction of justice – poses “a danger to the Trump White House”.
Speaking to reporters on Monday, President Trump insisted he would not be watching the proceedings “because you can’t take all those bites out of the apple” as the Justice Department wrote to the witness ordering him to stick to the substance of his 448-page report, a move that has been criticised as an attempt to intimidate Mr Mueller.
Meanwhile on Tuesday, Mr Trump said he can name at least 20 Democrats who, in his opinion, are worse than the “squad” of four Democratic female lawmakers he’s been feuding with over their sharp critiques of his administration. He promised to name those Democrats “at some point.”
Mr Trump brought up his purported list during a wide-ranging address at a conference for conservative teens during which he sharpened his criticism of Democrats Rashida Tlaib, Ilhan Omar, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Ayanna Pressley.
The Republican president has been engaged in a back and forth with the black, Latina and Muslim lawmakers since he sent racist tweets 14 July saying they should “go back” to the “broken” countries they came from.
Three of the four were born in the US, while Ms Omar is a naturalized US citizen from Somalia.
Mr Trump is trying to turn the group into the face of the Democratic Party heading into the 2020 presidential election, using their views and policy positions to paint the party as extreme and its leaders as wrong for the future of the country.
“They have a big problem because they have others than these four,” Mr Trump said of Democrats during the nearly 80-minute speech on Tuesday. “I could name another 20 right now. Without looking at a note I could name another 20 that I think are in many ways worse.”
“At some point, we will be naming them, if you don’t mind, because we have to get the word out,” he said.
Students, many of whom sported Mr Trump’s signature red campaign caps, booed when he mentioned Ms Tlaib by name.
Ms Tlaib and her three colleagues are sharp critics of Mr Trump and America’s direction under his leadership. Mr Trump tweeted Sunday that “I don’t believe the four Congresswomen are capable of loving our Country.”
He then called on them to apologise for the “horrible (hateful) things they have said.”
The lawmakers have said they were sent to Washington to help make America live up to its promise. None offered an immediate response Tuesday to Mr Trump’s latest jabs at them.
Additional reporting by AP. Please allow a moment for our liveblog to load