Aggravated by the efforts of House Democrats to continue to ask questions about the Russia investigation, President Donald Trump on Wednesday said his administration would not cooperate with those hearings in Congress, as Mr. Trump said a subpoena for testimony by his former White House Counsel was 'ridiculous,' calling on Democrats to move past Russia and on to domestic issues.
"We're fighting all the subpoenas," the President said, casting the investigative efforts in Congress about Russia and the Mueller Report as nothing more than a political gambit by Democrats to damage his re-election chances.
"Look, these aren't impartial people," he told reporters on the South Lawn of the White House. "The Democrats are trying to win 2020."
President Trump: "We're fighting all the subpoenas." pic.twitter.com/bATW8yjL2z— CSPAN (@cspan) April 24, 2019
Before leaving for events in Atlanta, the President again complained that Democrats were still focusing on the Russia probe, even after the release of a redacted version of the Mueller Report.
"I thought after two years, we would be finished with it," Mr. Trump added, again declaring that the Mueller investigation found nothing.
"No collusion, no obstruction," he said.
Mr. Trump's comments came after a blitz of posts on Twitter Tuesday morning in which he denounced efforts by Democrats to further investigate Russian interference in the 2016 elections, again arguing that only Democrats deserved scrutiny.
The Mueller Report, despite being written by Angry Democrats and Trump Haters, and with unlimited money behind it ($35,000,000), didn’t lay a glove on me. I DID NOTHING WRONG. If the partisan Dems ever tried to Impeach, I would first head to the U.S. Supreme Court. Not only......— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) April 24, 2019
.....are there no “High Crimes and Misdemeanors,” there are no Crimes by me at all. All of the Crimes were committed by Crooked Hillary, the Dems, the DNC and Dirty Cops - and we caught them in the act! We waited for Mueller and WON, so now the Dems look to Congress as last hope!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) April 24, 2019
No Collusion, No Obstruction - there has NEVER been a President who has been more transparent. Millions of pages of documents were given to the Mueller Angry Dems, plus I allowed everyone to testify, including W.H. counsel. I didn’t have to do this, but now they want more.....— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) April 24, 2019
....Congress has no time to legislate, they only want to continue the Witch Hunt, which I have already won. They should start looking at The Criminals who are already very well known to all. This was a Rigged System - WE WILL DRAIN THE SWAMP!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) April 24, 2019
The President's Wednesday comments echoed remarks he made in an interview with the Washington Post on Tuesday night, in which he said his administration won't help Democrats with what he charged were 'partisan' hearings.
On Tuesday, a former White House official defied a subpoena from a House committee to testify about security clearances granted to the President's son-in-law and other officials - despite red flags in their background checks.
Tuesday also brought a second missed deadline to turn over seven years of Mr. Trump's tax returns, as the Secretary of Treasury said a final decision on the request would be made by May 6.
“The president just made it clear that he is trying to stifle our investigation into his prior conduct,” said Rep. Diana DeGette (D-CO).
Rep. Gerry Connolly (D-Va) @GerryConnolly to #WTOP on President Trump’s refusal to have aides testify before House committtees: “I think the president has triggered what is likely to become a constitutional crisis.”— Mitchell Miller (@mmillerwtop) April 24, 2019
Several hours after President Trump said he would be fighting 'all the subpoenas,' more evidence of that surfaced, as Democrats said a top Justice Department official had been ordered not to show up for a scheduled bipartisan deposition on Thursday before a House panel.
“Both President Trump and Attorney General Barr are now openly ordering federal employees to ignore congressional subpoenas and simply not show up,” said Rep. Elijah Cummings (D-MD), the head of the House Oversight Committee.
In this case, Principal Deputy Attorney General John Gore was slated to come in for questions concerning the controversy over adding a citizenship question to the 2020 Census - an issue which has nothing to do with the Russia investigation.
“The subpoena that was issued to Mr. Gore was adopted by our Committee on a bipartisan basis,” Cummings said in a written statement. “Neither the White House nor the Department of Justice has asserted any privilege that would relieve Mr. Gore of his legal duty to comply.”
Republicans argued Democrats were making something out of nothing.
“Chairman Cummings is trying to insert the Committee into ongoing litigation,” said a GOP spokesman for the Oversight Committee, noting Gore had already appeared twice before the panel.
Still, it would be the second time this week that a Trump Administration official had ignored a subpoena - on Tuesday, a former White House security official who now works at the Pentagon, refused to honor a subpoena for testimony on questions about security clearance approvals for senior White House officials.