WASHINGTON — President Donald Trump on Tuesday accused House Democrats of going “stone cold CRAZY” a day after four congressional panels launched widespread probes into the president’s business affairs, his political operation and his communications with Russian President Vladimir Putin.
“The greatest overreach in the history of our Country,” Trump tweeted on Tuesday. “The Dems are obstructing justice and will not get anything done. A big, fat, fishing expedition desperately in search of a crime, when in fact the real crime is what the Dems are doing, and have done!”
Speaking to reporters at the White House, Trump said Democrats "want to play games" ahead of the 2020 presidential race by requesting troves of documents from his administration and close associates.
"Essentially what they're saying is the campaign begins," Trump said of Democrats.
Trump, whose 2016 campaign operation has come under scrutiny as part of the Justice Department’s more than two-year probe into Russia’s election interference, continued to assert on Twitter that he did not collude with the Kremlin. Instead the president, without offering evidence, continued to accuse Democratic rival Hillary Clinton of working with Russia.
The president took direct aim on Twitter at Rep. Jerrold Nadler (D-N.Y.), the chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, which issued letters to 81 Trump affiliated individuals and entities on Monday, demanding documents related to a series of matters including the president’s attempt to silence allegations of infidelity in the weeks leading up to the presidential election. Trump also directed criticism at Rep. Adam Schiff (D-Calif.), the head of the House Intelligence Committee, which has requested documents related to Trump’s communications with Putin. The committee also met last week with Trump’s former personal attorney Michael Cohen in a closed-door session.
Trump tweeted: “Now that they realize the only Collusion with Russia was done by Crooked Hillary Clinton & the Democrats, Nadler, Schiff and the Dem heads of the Committees have gone stone cold CRAZY. 81 letter sent to innocent people to harass them. They won’t get ANYTHING done for our Country!”
The White House signaled on Tuesday it will fight the various records requests. White House Counsel Pat Cipollone said in a letter to the House Oversight Committee that the White House would not turn over documents the committee had previously requested regarding the president's process for providing top-level security clearances. The process has come under scrunity amid reports that Trump insisted his son-in-law and adviser Jared Kushner receive a clearance over the objections of federal investigators who raised concerns about Kushner's former foreign business dealings.
Cipollone accused the Oversight Committee of making “unprecedented and extraordinarily intrusive demands."
Rep. Elijah Cummings (D-Md.), chairman of the committee, defended the request, saying in a statement: “There is a key difference between a president who exercises his authority under the Constitution and a president who overrules career experts and his top advisors to benefit his family members and then conceals his actions from the American people."
Nadler, whose district includes much of Manhattan’s West Side, said in a statement Monday that the dozens of records requests were necessary to investigate “the alleged obstruction of justice, public corruption, and other abuses of power by President Trump, his associates, and members of his Administration.”
Schiff, in a joint letter signed by the chairmen of the House oversight and foreign affairs committees, said records related to Trump’s communications with Russia were needed as part of Congress’ constitutional duty to conduct oversight … to determine, among other things, the impact of those communications on U.S. foreign policy, [and] whether federal officials, including President Trump, have acted in the national interest.”