Trump celebrates at W.Va. fundraiser after Mueller hearings

WHEELING, West Virginia (AP) — A triumphant President Donald Trump celebrated Wednesday evening after Robert Mueller’s testimony, telling attendees at a closed-door fundraiser in West Virginia that the former special counsel’s appearance was a dud.

Trump, who arrived at the fundraiser energized and excited, told a crowd at the WesBanco Arena that Mueller’s testimony was nothing more than a miserable effort by Democrats to discredit him, West Virginia Senate President Mitch Carmichael told The Associated Press.

Trump called Mueller’s remarks a dud for anyone who thought new, more damaging information would emerge, said Carmichael, a Republican who was in attendance.

Trump had some prepared remarks but largely veered into familiar themes for the rapt audience: the need for a southern border wall, the United States getting ripped off on international trade deals and his enduring support in deep-red West Virginia.

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Carmichael said Trump met briefly with a small group that included the governors of West Virginia, Kentucky and Ohio before taking the stage.

Attendees’ cell phones were locked away in bags.

The event was hosted by Robert E. Murray, the president and CEO of Murray Energy. Murray is a supporter of Trump’s regulatory actions aimed at scaling back environmental protections put in place during Barack Obama’s presidency. His company is the largest underground coal mining company in America.

A Republican National Committee official said about 1,000 people had been slated to attend the event, which was expected to raise $2.5 million for a joint committee supporting Trump’s reelection campaign and the RNC.

Trump left for West Virginia shortly after Mueller finished testifying before Congress and was greeted in the state by Republican Gov. Jim Justice and a crowd of supporters chanting “USA!”

He told reporters before he left that the state was doing great on his watch.

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Izaguirre reported from Charleston, West Virginia.

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