“All they are geared up to do, six committees, is squander time, day after day, trying to find anything which will be bad for me,” Trump said on Twitter a day after he abruptly walked out of a White House meeting with the top Democratic congressional leaders about infrastructure spending. The U.S. leader, incensed that House Speaker Nancy Pelosi contended he was “engaged in a cover-up,” said he would not talk about policy issues with the Democrats as long as they continue their investigations.
“A pure fishing expedition like this never happened before, & it should never happen again!” Trump claimed, although Republican lawmakers in recent times often investigated Democrat Hillary Clinton, the former secretary of state Trump defeated in the 2016 election.
There was no indication that Democratic lawmakers would back off their investigations of Trump’s finances related to his global business empire and the aftermath of special counsel Robert Mueller’s probe of Trump campaign links to Russia and whether, as president, Trump obstructed justice by trying to thwart Mueller’s investigation.
Mueller concluded that Trump had not colluded with Russia to help him win, but reached no decision whether he obstructed justice. Subsequently, Attorney General William Barr and then-Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein decided obstruction charges against Trump were not warranted.
Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, one of the Democrats Trump rebuffed at the White House, described Trump’s walk-out as a “temper tantrum.” He told MSNBC that he believes it occurred because Trump and his aides “were so ill-prepared and afraid to actually say how they pay for infrastructure — they were unable — that they looked for a way to back out.”
After walking out of the meeting, Trump told reporters in the White House Rose Garden, “I don’t do cover-ups.”
He said investigations of him and efforts to engage in government policy negotiations could not be conducted simultaneously.
“You can’t do it under these circumstances,” he said. “What they’ve done is abuse. Let them play their games.”
On Thursday, Trump tweeted:
Schumer called Trump’s 28-month White House tenure a “do-nothing, helter-skelter, radical presidency.”
“It doesn’t look good for him to anyone but his hardcore base, and even some of them are gonna start saying, he’s not getting anything done,'” Schumer said. “It’s just a show.”
“A lot of people now see — more and more people — see that he’s not getting anything done. And he doesn’t realize what a liability that is. The presidency is not just a reality show. And if you don’t get real things done for the American people they’re going to want change again, and they will want change away from Donald Trump,” Schumer said.
On Twitter, Trump contended the opposite:
Business, financial records
Trump continues to spar with congressional Democrats over access to his business and financial records from the years prior to his presidency when he was widely known as a New York real estate mogul.
Twice this week, federal judges have upheld congressional subpoenas for his records, at an accounting firm that handled some of his financial transactions and from Deutsche Bank, his primary lender for two decades, and Capital One Bank, where he keeps some of his money.
Meanwhile, the New York state legislature approved a measure that would authorize state tax officials to release his state tax returns to any of three congressional committees in Washington. Trump has appealed the ruling related to the accounting firm and is likely to appeal the bank information decision, as well.
Trump, unlike U.S. presidents for the past four decades, has declined to release his federal tax returns, and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin has refused a congressional request for the last six years of Trump’s returns.
With one exception, Trump has held Democrats at bay, for the moment, in their pursuit of information and public oversight. Three dozen Democrats in the House of Representatives, and a lone Republican congressman, have called for the start of impeachment hearings against Trump, even though the Republican-controlled Senate is highly unlikely to remove him from office.
Pelosi, the leader of the majority Democrats in the House of Representatives, wants the investigations to continue, but has resisted the calls for an impeachment inquiry.
Congressman Adam Schiff, chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, said Wednesday his panel has won an agreement from the Justice Department to turn over 12 categories of counterintelligence and foreign intelligence information that had been collected as part of Mueller’s investigation.
The House Intelligence panel had subpoenaed the information, and Schiff said the subpoena “will remain in effect, and be enforced” if Justice fails “to comply with the full document request.”
Other House committees, however, have not been successful in retrieving information and testimony they have demanded from Trump and his administration.
Mueller’s report cited 11 instances of possible obstruction of the investigation by the president, saying that “while this report does not conclude that the president committed a crime, it also does not exonerate him.”
Barr, however, has refused to turn over an unredacted copy of the Mueller report to the House Judiciary Committee, with the Democrat-controlled panel then overriding Republican objections and voting to hold him in contempt of Congress.