NATIONAL NEWS

Trump Stalks Out On Democrats, Demands End Of Investigations

May 22, 2019, 4:58 PM | Updated: Jun 8, 2022, 5:06 pm
WASHINGTON, DC - MAY 22: U.S. President Donald Trump speaks about Robert Mueller's investigation in...
WASHINGTON, DC - MAY 22: U.S. President Donald Trump speaks about Robert Mueller's investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election in the Rose Garden at the White House May 22, 2019 in Washington, DC. Trump responded to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi saying he was engaged in a cover up. (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)
(Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)
WASHINGTON (AP) — President Donald Trump abruptly stalked out of a White House meeting with congressional leaders Wednesday, flatly declaring he would no longer work with Democrats unless they drop all investigations in the aftermath of the special counsel’s Trump-Russia report.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi called it all “very, very, very strange” and said she was praying for Trump and the nation. Trump tweeted his thanks for her prayers but said he would not proceed down two tracks — investigation and legislation.

Democrats said his ultimatum seemed scripted, with signs declaring his innocence already prepared for his outdoor remarks that followed. Yet Trump’s unease with congressional oversight and talk of what he called the “i-word” — impeachment — now threatens to deprive him of legislative accomplishments for the remainder of his term.

The scene playing out live on television was reminiscent of earlier ones at the White House, including during the federal government shutdown, when Trump walked out on Democrats. While this standoff could benefit him politically in the short term, with his tough talk stirring up supporters, it leaves his trade deals, a new budget and other goals in jeopardy as he heads into a re-election campaign. Democrats called it another Trump temper tantrum.

“I want to do infrastructure,” Trump said he told Pelosi and Senate Democratic leader Chuck Schumer, noting the scheduled topic of the meeting.

“But you know what? We can’t do it under these circumstances,” he said he told them. “So get these phony investigations over.”

Without ever shaking anyone’s hand, or even taking a seat, Trump turned and left the three-minute meeting. He strode to the Rose Garden where reporters and TV cameras had been assembled and proceeded to assail the Democrats, particularly Pelosi for her comment earlier in the morning on Capitol Hill that she believed the president was engaged in a “cover-up” of the Russia probe.

“I don’t do cover-ups,” Trump fumed.

Back on Capitol Hill, Pelosi said Trump “just took a pass” on working on national infrastructure problems.

Flanked by Schumer and other House and Senate leaders, Pelosi said the Democrats had gone to the White House “to give this president the opportunity to have a signature infrastructure initiative.”

The meeting had been set weeks ago, after Trump and the Democratic leaders agreed to talk further about a possible $2 trillion infrastructure proposal. Democrats have been working with the president’s daughter Ivanka, and Trump was due to provide his ideas on how to pay for it.

But he told them he couldn’t engage on infrastructure because Pelosi said “something terrible,” according to an administration official and another person familiar with what happened in the room.

Democrats said they doubted he actually was ever going to put forward a plan. Schumer — who brought his own 35-page proposal to the meeting — said that when Trump “was forced to say how he would pay for it he had to run away.”

What started as a challenging day for Pelosi as she tries to tamp down growing calls for an impeachment inquiry swiftly turned, with the attention going back on the president. Even some Republicans noted the shift.

“In the end we’ve got work to do,” said Sen. John Cornyn, who called the meeting dramatic. “And I think the best thing we could do for the people we work for is to try to make progress where we can.”

Earlier Wednesday, House Democrats had convened for a closed-door meeting amid Trump’s stonewalling of their investigators, as a growing number of the party’s lawmakers say they want to open an impeachment inquiry. They say it’s not necessarily aimed at removing the president from office but to bolster their position in court against his blocking their probes with broad claims of immunity. Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez of New York spoke up at the meeting, and some two dozen Democrats have signed on to the idea.

With her leadership team, Pelosi, who has resisted pressure to impeach, suggested patience. She pointed rank-and-file Democrats toward the legal battles that she said have already found success i n forcing Trump to comply with investigations.

“We do believe it’s important to follow the facts,” Pelosi told reporters afterward. “We believe that no one is above the law, including the president of the United States, and we believe that the president of the United States is engaged in a cover-up.”

A federal judge ruled Wednesday that the White House cannot block subpoenas for Trump’s financial records from Deutsche Bank, which has lent his real estate company millions of dollars. On Monday a federal judge also ruled against Trump in a separate financial records dispute with Congress, though his team filed a notice of appeal that is expected to keep the court battles running for months.

Pelosi said the court victories were “no surprise.”

The Democrats leaving that Capitol meeting appeared to be taking hers words into consideration, even as many say the march to impeach becomes more inevitable. Tennessee Rep. Steve Cohen, who called for the impeachment inquiry on Tuesday, said he could see both sides.

Of leaders’ reluctance, Cohen said “it’s a political concern rather than an actual constitutional one.”

Rep. Katie Hill, a freshman from a California swing district, said she is undecided on starting an impeachment inquiry but wants to let the court action play out.

The more Trump “defies us, the more that it’s becoming an inevitability,” she said. But she doesn’t think the Democratic caucus “is there yet.”

Pelosi faces her own political calculations amid the push-pull of impeachment. While Democrats have a majority in the House, and would likely find support for starting impeachment proceedings, it could be a tighter vote than the 235-197 margin suggests. Many lawmakers come from relatively conservative districts where Trump also has support.

Democrats have long said they can work on two tracks — conducting oversight and legislating on their agenda of lower health care costs and infrastructure investment. But Trump says they can’t do both.

“They can continue the Witch Hunt … or get back to work,” Trump tweeted.

Pelosi showed no signs of backing down.

“The fact is, in plain sight, in the public domain, this president is obstructing justice and he’s engaged in a cover-up, and that could be impeachable,” Pelosi said during an event later at the liberal Center for American Progress.

“As they say, the cover up is frequently worse than the crime,” she said. She reminded that the third article of impeachment against President Richard Nixon was his obstruction of Congress.

___

Associated Press writers Laurie Kellman, Alan Fram, Matthew Daly, Michael Balsamo, Jonathan Lemire, Eric Tucker and Mark Sherman contributed to this report.

KSL 5 TV Live

Top Stories

National News

R. Kelly has been placed on suicide watch at the federal detention facility in New York where he is...
Sonia Moghe and Alaa Elassar, CNN

R. Kelly placed on suicide watch after being sentenced to 30 years in prison, his lawyer says

R. Kelly has been placed on suicide watch at the federal detention facility in New York where he is being held after he was sentenced this week to 30 years in prison on racketeering and sex trafficking charges, his lawyer said Friday.
1 day ago
A sunken World War II-Era Higgins landing craft that used to be nearly 200 feet underwater is being...
Associated Press

World War II-era boat emerges from shrinking Lake Mead

A sunken boat dating back to World War II is the latest object to emerge from a shrinking reservoir that straddles Nevada and Arizona.
1 day ago
The Florida Highway Patrol makes an arrest on June 29. The Florida Highway Patrol arrested two peop...
Jamiel Lynch, CNN

Florida Highway Patrol arrests two men in two days in separate human smuggling cases

The Florida Highway Patrol arrested two people this week for smuggling others into the state, according to incident reports from the agency.
1 day ago
This 2003 electron microscope image made available by the Centers for Disease Control and Preventio...
Jen Christensen, CNN

‘You do not want this’ virus: California man with monkeypox urges others to get vaccinated

Matt Ford edits videos for a living, so it wasn't a stretch for him to put one together for TikTok. But his latest post wasn't a crazy dance or a video about how to peel a banana the right way. It's based on his own experience with monkeypox.
1 day ago
FILE: Walt Disney World Resort marked its 45th anniversary on October 1, 2016 in Lake Buena Vista, ...
Eliza Pace

Disney announces ‘Tiana’s Bayou Adventure’ ride to replace Splash Mountain

A new ride based on Disney's "Princess and the Frog,"  will replace the current Splash Mountain ride, Disney announced Friday.
1 day ago
(Stock image)...
Sandee LaMotte, CNN

Pets and fireworks: How to keep your animals calm and safe on July 4

We may find fireworks beautiful and festive, but they explode like magnified gunfire in the exquisitely sensitive ears of many of our pets.
1 day ago

Sponsored Articles

hand holding 3d rendering mobile connect with security camera for security solutions...
Les Olson

Wondering what security solutions are right for you? Find out more about how to protect your surroundings

Physical security helps everyone. Keep your employees, clients, and customers safe with security solutions that protect your workplace.
Many rattan pendant lights, hay hang from the ceiling.Traditional and simple lighting....
Lighting Design

The Best Ways to Style Rattan Pendant Lighting in Your Home

Rattan pendant lights create a rustic and breezy feel, and are an easy way to incorporate this hot trend into your home decor.
Earth day 2022...
1-800-GOT-JUNK?

How Are You Celebrating Earth Day 2022? | 4 Simple Ways to Celebrate Earth Day and Protect the Environment

Earth Day is a great time to reflect on how we can be more environmentally conscious. Here are some tips for celebrating Earth Day.
Get Money Online...

More Ways to Get Money Online Right Now in Your Spare Time

Here are 4 easy ways that you can get more money online if you have some free time and want to make a little extra on the side.
Lighting trends 2022...

Lighting Trends 2022 | 5 Beautiful Home Lighting Trends You Can Expect to See this Year and Beyond

This is where you can see the latest lighting trends for 2022 straight from the Lightovation Show at the Dallas World Trade Center.
What Can't You Throw Away in the Trash...

What Can’t You Throw Away in the Trash? | 5 Things You Shouldn’t Throw in to Your Trash Can

What can't you throw away in the trash? Believe it or not, there are actually many items that shouldn't be thrown straight into the trash.
Trump Stalks Out On Democrats, Demands End Of Investigations