Dissecting Trump's first post-midterms press conference
President Donald Trump warned House Democrats he won’t cooperate with them if they launch probes against him, adding they would risk public “investigation fatigue” and retribution from the Republican-controlled Senate.
“They can play that game, but we can play it better,” Trump said Wednesday at a White House news conference. He cited “questionable things” done by Democrats, including “leaks of classified information.”
He said if Democrats investigate him, it would result in a “war-like posture.”
Asked how he would respond to an order from House Democrats to provide his tax returns, he repeated past statements he first made during the presidential campaigns that he wanted to wait until audits are completed.
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Trump issued the warnings as he reversed his typically antagonistic tone toward Democrat Nancy Pelosi, who is set to return as House Speaker after Democrats won the chamber’s majority in Tuesday’s midterm elections.
“We actually have a great relationship,” Trump said of Pelosi. “I give her a great deal of credit for what she’s done and what she’s accomplished.”
Democrats’ takeover of the House in January will allow them to force administration officials to testify and provide documents. That will subject Trump’s decision-making -- as well as his personal finances and potential conflicts of interest -- to deeper public and private examination by key committees, as the national focus shifts to the 2020 presidential election.
For the past two years, Republicans have subjected Trump to relatively little oversight, spurning most requests from the minority party. Democrats say that will change almost immediately when the 116th Congress opens on Jan. 3. They have a long list of topics they plan to look into, including financial deregulation, Trump’s business interests and Russia’s election interference.
Trump began issuing warnings to Democrats against inquiries into his administration early in the day with a Twitter posting.
"If the Democrats think they are going to waste Taxpayer Money investigating us at the House level, then we will likewise be forced to consider investigating them for all of the leaks of Classified Information, and much else, at the Senate level," the president said on Twitter.
Democrats say that when it comes to the administration’s response, for example, to the “caravan” of Central American immigrants, they want answers about the rationale behind the troop deployments and details on the force’s rules of engagement.
“It’s not like we’re going to go drunk-crazy with subpoenas. But it may seem that way because we are coming off a two-year drought of no subpoenas,” said Representative Gerald Connolly of Virginia, the top Democrat on the Oversight subcommittee on government operations.
Democrats say they want to pursue unanswered questions about Russian interference in the 2016 election and end what they call a campaign by House Republicans to undermine Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s continuing investigation.