WASHINGTON — President Donald Trump on Wednesday vowed to fight “all the subpoenas” issued by House Democrats, escalating the standoff between the White House and lawmakers over access to the president's records and the ability to interview members of his administration.
“We’re fighting all the subpoenas,” Trump told reporters at the White House when asked about a subpoena issued this week to former White House Counsel Don McGahn by the House Judiciary Committee.
Trump’s comments came amid an all-out push this week by the president to refuse House Democrats’ subpoenas on a wide-range of issues, not just those related to Trump's finances and special counsel Robert Mueller's Russia probe.
On Wednesday, the Justice Department refused to comply with a House Oversight Committee subpoena seeking testimony about the Trump administration’s push to add a citizenship question to the 2020 Census. Earlier in the week, Trump filed a federal lawsuit against the commitee's chairman, Rep. Elijah Cummings (D-Maryland), to block a subpoena seeking Trump’s financial records. On Monday, the White House directed a former White House security official to not comply with an Oversight Committee subpoena seeking his testimony about the White House’s security clearance process, and on Tuesday, the Treasury Department for a second time refused to turn over the president’s tax returns to the House Ways and Means Committee.
Cummings decried the series of refusals, saying in a statement they pointed to "a massive, unprecedented, and growing pattern of obstruction."
The president, on Wednesday, questioned the need for additional congressional investigations as he claimed vindication from the redacted version of Mueller’s final report that was released last Thursday.
The report detailed an expansive effort by Russia to influence the 2016 presidential election but said investigators did not establish evidence that Trump and his campaign conspired with Russia. Mueller opted against drawing a conclusion on the question of whether Trump obstructed justice, citing in part a decades-old Department of Justice policy that bars the indictment of a sitting president. Instead, the special counsel devoted half of the 448-page report to laying out 10 episodes of possible obstructive acts involving Trump.
“I thought after two years we’d be finished with it,” Trump said on Wednesday “No. Now the House goes and starts subpoenas. They want to know every deal I’ve ever done.”
Trump told The Washington Post on Tuesday he is opposed to having former and current administration officials testify before House Democrat-led panels, noting that he allowed his circle of aides and advisers to testify before the special counsel and “they have all of that information that’s been given.”
“There is no reason to go any further, and especially in Congress where it’s very partisan — obviously very partisan,” Trump said.
Democrats have defended the probes, saying they are part of Congress’ oversight duties. On Tuesday, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, speaking at a Time magazine event in Manhattan, accused Trump of “stonewalling” the American public.
“Now we see the administration engaging in stonewalling of the facts coming to the American people,” Pelosi said.
Cummings on Tuesday, responding to former White House security official Carl Kline’s failure to appear before lawmakers, said the White House was in “open defiance” of a “duly authorized congressional subpoena” and said lawmakers would weigh holding Kline in contempt.
Trump, on Wednesday said lawmakers should move past the Mueller report.
"I say it’s enough," Trump said. "Get back to infrastructure. Get back to cutting taxes. Get back to lowering drug prices."