While it certainly looks to everyone one else that cover-ups ARE his thing, Trump denied any such thing as he continued to push back on the Mueller report.
The man who paid $130,000 hush money claims “I don’t do cover-ups”. The bluster over a “cover-up in plain sight” was Trump’s convenient excuse not to consider the two trillion dollar infrastructure legislation. More curious was his refusal to consider legislation until Congressional inquiries stopped.
The president—and this will stun you—had not fully thought out a plan to pay for $2 trillion in infrastructure spending. Democrats had suggested the president undo some of his signature 2017 tax legislation to pay for it, but Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell immediately called this a “nonstarter,” and just about all Republicans agreed with him. House Republicans, not known for challenging the president’s dictates, said that $2 trillion was a wildly unrealistic sum, with House Republican Whip Steve Scalise saying there were not any financing options agreeable to both parties “that would come anywhere close to $2 trillion.” Senate Republican rank and file were similarly uninterested.
“He is looking for every excuse, whether it was ‘Let’s do trade first’, or whether it was ‘He’s not going to pay for any funding,’ or … ‘There are investigations going on,’ ” Schumer told reporters afterward. “But now that he was forced to actually say how he’d pay for it, he had to run away, and he came up with this pre-planned excuse.”
“For some reason, maybe it was lack of confidence on his part … he just took a pass, and it just makes me wonder why he did that,” Pelosi said.
Pelosi is not as surprised as she claims to be, and the complete collapse of negotiations before financing discussions even began shows how performative this exercise was from the beginning.
For any president to refuse to perform his Art II responsibilities unless Congress abandons its Art I duties is a gross dereliction of duty, itself an impeachable course of conduct that seeks to hold the American people hostage.
— Laurence Tribe (@tribelaw) May 23, 2019
Just to give a full rundown of what happened with the impromptu Rose Garden remarks.
At around 11:15 — when infrastructure meeting was scheduled to start — there was a call for all press to gather at the Palm Room doors. We were left mostly in the dark about what was going on, beyond wranglers asking us to organize for the walk over.
At about 11:30, pool was brought out to Rose Garden.
POTUS stepped out to speak about few minutes after that. Here is some more from his remarks:
After initial comments calling the investigation into him a “hoax” and a “total, horrible thing that happened to our country,” POTUS said that we’re “setting record with the economy, with jobs”… “we have the best unemployment number that we’ve had in the history of our country.”
“Things are going well, and I said, ‘let’s have he meeting on infrastructure. We’ll get that done easily.”
POTUS said that “instead of walking in happily into a meeting, I walk into to look at people that have just said that I was doing a cover up. I don’t do cover-ups”
POTUS pivoted back to Mueller probe, and said he let “everybody talk,” including White House counsel.
He said that “most” of 19 people heading Mueller probe were contributors to “Democrat” party. “They hated President Trump — they hated him — with a passion.”
“They would have loved to have said that we colluded…these people were out to get us.”
He discussed the phone calls from Donald Trump Jr. — who is “a good young man who has gone through hell” — that were investigated. Then he brought up the election of Fred Keller and the rally POTUS did for him.
“Here is the bottom line. there was no collusion, no obstruction, we have been doing this since I was president.”
POTUS stressed that the “crime” was committed on the “other side.”
“I’ve said from the beginning…you probably can’t go down two tracks. You can go down the investigation track, and you can go down the investment track or the track of ‘let’s get things done for the American people.'” POTUS brought up drug prices, the “problem of the border”… “I just wanted to let you know that I walked into the room and I told Sen. Schumer and Speaker Pelosi, I want to do infrastructure….and you know what, you cant do it under these circumstance.”
“So get these phony investigations over with.” POTUS said, and he then brought up a WSJ editorial on Mueller.
POTUS mentioned House Judiciary Committee Chair Jerry Nadler, “an enemy of mine for many years.”
“They want to make this a big deal. Whether or not they carry the big i-word out, I can’t imagine that, but that they probably would because they do whatever they have to do.”
POTUS that his lawyers told him he would have used “presidential privilege” to block his staff from testifying. “I said, I did nothing wrong. Let’s be transparent.”
After speaking for about 10 minutes, ended back on a note on the “tremendous work” he is doing for the country, before taking a few questions.
He took two questions
He recalled finding out that Speaker Pelosi was having a meeting before the infrastructure meeting to “talk about the i-word.”
Asked about whether he viewed Congress as co-equal branch, he said, “I respect the courts, I respect Congress, i respect right here where we’re standing, but what they’ve done is abuse.”
New poll found only 37% of voters believe Trump should be reelected, while 60% said they think it's time for someone new — the highest percentage of voters saying they're eager for change since Monmouth first began asking the question. https://t.co/BfP1RK7dW4 via @JonEasley
— Evan Rosenfeld (@Evan_Rosenfeld) May 22, 2019