President Trump walks from Marine One to the Oval Office as he returns from a trip to New York last week. (Jabin Botsford/The Washington Post)
President Trump aimed a barrage of early-morning tweets at House Democrats on Wednesday questioning their priorities as they prepared for a meeting to discuss investigations into the administration and growing calls for impeachment proceedings.
In his tweets, Trump claimed that Democrats are “getting ZERO work done in Congress” and are instead focused on what he called a continuation of a “Witch Hunt” into whether he sought to obstruct special counsel Robert S. Mueller III’s investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election.
“PRESIDENTIAL HARASSMENT!” Trump wrote in the fourth in a series of tweets that began before 6 a.m.
The president’s Twitter rant came about three hours before a scheduled closed-door Democratic caucus meeting called by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.). It has been billed as an opportunity for members to receive updates on oversight and investigations.
But many lawmakers said Tuesday that they expect it will become a robust discussion of whether to pursue an impeachment inquiry against Trump.
Democrats have become increasingly frustrated with the administration’s blanket refusal to cooperate with congressional requests for documents and testimony. That included the White House’s refusal to allow former counsel Donald McGahn to testify at a hearing Tuesday about key aspects of Mueller’s report.
Since taking control of the House in January, Democrats have passed several legislative measures, including bills on health care and ethics reform, that have not been taken up in the Republican-led Senate.
The tension over stepped-up House oversight of Trump comes amid continuing discussions of one potential issue on which both Trump and Pelosi have expressed hope for cooperation: investing in the country’s ailing infrastructure. Trump is scheduled to meet later Tuesday morning on the subject with Pelosi, Senate Minority Leader Charles E. Schumer (D-N.Y.) and others.
But prospects for a deal seemed to have dimmed since Trump held an initial meeting with Democratic leaders several weeks ago at which there was an agreement on a goal of spending $2 trillion on roads, bridges, rail, airports and other infrastructure.
In a letter to Pelosi and Schumer on Tuesday night, Trump wrote that it is his “strong view” that Congress should pass the trade deal his administration negotiated with Canada and Mexico before turning its full attention to infrastructure.
The White House has stepped up pressure on Congress to pass the U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement by this summer amid continuing Democratic concerns about parts of the deal.
In his morning tweets, Trump continued to question why Democrats were interested in hearing the testimony from his aides and others who were interviewed as part of Mueller’s investigation.
Mueller’s report concluded that the Russian government interfered in the 2016 presidential election “in sweeping and systematic fashion.”
The report did not find sufficient evidence to bring charges of criminal conspiracy with Russia against Trump or anyone associated with his campaign. It did not offer a conclusion on whether Trump obstructed justice.
Attorney General William P. Barr later concluded that there was not sufficient evidence for obstruction of justice, but House Democrats are continuing to pursue that issue.
“After two years of an expensive and comprehensive Witch Hunt, the Democrats don’t like the result and they want a DO OVER,” Trump said in one of his morning tweets. “In other words, the Witch Hunt continues!”
In another, he claimed to have done nothing wrong and suggested that Democrats were now on a fishing expedition.
In a later tweet, Trump claimed that his job approval number would be 65 percent if not for the Mueller investigation. A Quinnipiac University poll released this week found that 38 percent of registered voters approve of the job Trump is doing, while 57 percent disapprove.