WASHINGTON — President Donald Trump on Wednesday escalated his threats against those involved in probing his presidency — telling reporters he is considering suing “a lot of people” involved in the federal government’s probe into Russian election interference, while dismissing concerns raised by lawmakers about his effort to identify the U.S. intelligence whistleblower who filed a complaint focused on Trump’s dealings with Ukraine.
Trump, appearing alongside Finnish President Sauli Niinistö at the White House, struck a combative tone when faced with questions from reporters about the impeachment inquiry launched by House Democrats into his communications with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky.
The president repeatedly refused to answer questions about what specifically he sought from Zelensky when he asked the leader in a July 25 phone conversation to investigate former Vice President Joe Biden and his son. He insisted the call was "perfect" and noted that Secretary of State Mike Pompeo was listening in on the conversation.
Asked about three House committees announcing their intent on Wednesday to subpoena the White House, Trump, who has repeatedly refused to comply with other House subpoenas, said, “we’ll work together” with House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, “and all of them,” before going on to cast the current probe and the special counsel probe as a “hoax.”
“I probably will be bringing a lot of litigation against a lot of people having to do with the corrupt investigation having to do with the 2016 election,” Trump told reporters, noting that his personal attorney Rudy Giuliani was looking into taking the unprecedented step of having a sitting president potentially sue his political adversaries.
Giuliani in a series of tweets said, “We are carefully considering our legal options to seek redress against Congress and individual members.” He singled out Schiff (D-Calif.), who led the push for the whistleblower’s complaint to be released, as one possible target.
Trump, who kicked off his morning on Twitter describing the impeachment with an all-caps expletive, continued to accuse Schiff of “treason” and called for his resignation.
The president, speaking to reporters at the White House, dismissed concerns raised by lawmakers about his attempts to identify the U.S. intelligence whistleblower who filed a complaint outlining alleged abuses of power by Trump in his dealings with Ukraine.
“I don’t care,” Trump said when asked about concerns raised by Republican lawmakers specifically. “Look, I think a whistleblower should be protected if the whistleblower is legitimate.”
Amid reports that Trump also has asked his counterparts in Australia and Great Britain to aid Attorney General William Barr in his investigation into the origins of the Russia investigation, Niinistö was asked by a Finnish reporter if he was asked for any "favors" by Trump.
Niinistö responded: “We had a conversation and discussion on a very equal basis … I really appreciate that.”
The Finnish leader at the top of his remarks spoke glowingly about his visit to numerous historic sites in the nation’s capital, and made an appeal to Trump: “ Mr. President, you have here a great democracy. Keep it going on.”