President Trump took fresh aim Thursday at House Democrats, claiming they are going “nuts” with unprecedented investigations into his administration and businesses that are starting to unfold on Capitol Hill.
Trump’s assessment — in morning tweets — drew a sharp rebuke from House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.), who accused Trump of “projecting his own unruliness” and vowed that Democrats would “not surrender our constitutional responsibility for oversight.”
In tweets posted before his appearance at a national prayer breakfast, Trump singled out House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam B. Schiff (D-Calif.), who announced Wednesday that his panel would scrutinize “credible reports of money laundering and financial compromise” involving Trump’s businesses as part of a fresh investigation into Trump’s alleged ties with Russia.
“So now Congressman Adam B. Schiff announces, after having found zero Russian Collusion, that he is going to be looking at every aspect of my life, both financial and personal, even though there is no reason to be doing so,” Trump said on Twitter. “Never happened before! Unlimited Presidential Harassment.”
In another tweet, Trump said he has heard that “other committee heads will do the same thing.”
“The Dems and their committees are going ‘nuts,’ ” Trump wrote. “The Republicans never did this to President Obama, there would be no time left to run government.”
Without elaboration, Trump also said that congressional Democrats were “stealing people” who work at the White House to help with the investigations.
That was an apparent reference to news that Schiff’s committee had hired at least one former White House national security aide.
More than an hour later, Trump returned to the subject on Twitter, writing: “PRESIDENTIAL HARASSMENT! It should never be allowed to happen again!”
The tweets were posted ahead of hearings scheduled Thursday by other committees on presidential tax returns and family separations at the Mexican border, and a Friday session to question acting attorney general Matthew G. Whitaker about a range of subjects.
The House Judiciary Committee voted along party lines Thursday morning to give its chairman the authority to subpoena testimony from Whitaker should he fail to show up or answer questions during Friday’s hearing.
Whitaker subsequently said he will not appear before the committee without assurances that he won’t be subpoenaed.
Democrats have contended they are merely exercising their responsibilities of congressional oversight after a period of limited scrutiny while the House was under Republican control.
At a news conference Thursday, Pelosi told reporters that she was “very proud” of the work of House committees.
“I always think that whatever the president says about us, he’s projecting his own unruliness,” Pelosi said. “He’s a projector, and that’s what it’s about. . . . Even the Republicans have complimented the committees on being wise in how they proceed in terms of subpoenas and the rest.”
“We will not surrender our constitutional responsibility for oversight,” she added. “That would make us delinquent in our duties. ”
In response to a reporter’s question, Pelosi also defended an effort to secure Trump’s tax returns, which he has declined to voluntarily make available, as past presidents have.
“I think overwhelming the public wants to see the president’s tax returns,” she said.
The Trump administration is also facing some additional scrutiny from the Republican-led Senate.
On Thursday, Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Lindsey O. Graham (R-S.C.) said a hearing on the deaths of two migrant children in U.S. custody at the southern border would be scheduled for March 5. The hearing was requested by Sens. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) and Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.).
Allies of the president have started to push back on the expanding probes.
In a tweet late Wednesday afternoon, Rep. Mark Meadows (R-N.C.), leader of the conservative House Freedom Caucus and a Trump confidant, wrote: “So after nearly two years of investigations, zero evidence of collusion, and plenty of debunked conspiracy theories — including from Chairman Schiff himself — Congressional Democrats now want to EXPAND the Russia probe. Seriously.”
Donald Trump Jr., the president’s eldest son, retweeted Meadows’s tweet on Thursday morning.
During his State of the Union speech Tuesday night, the president warned that he would not work with Democrats on legislation if they are overzealous in their oversight.
Trump said that “an economic miracle is taking place in the United States, and the only thing that can stop it are foolish wars, politics or ridiculous partisan investigations.”
“If there is going to be peace and legislation, there cannot be war and investigation,” he added.
During a television interview Wednesday, Senate Minority Leader Charles E. Schumer (D-N.Y.) said Trump’s warning shows that “he’s scared.”
“He’s got something to hide,” the senator said. “Because if he had nothing to hide, he’d just shrug his shoulders and let these investigations go forward. He’s afraid of them.”
Trump also lashed out at Schiff on Wednesday, calling him a “political hack.”
Mike DeBonis, Karoun Demirjian and Matt Zapotosky contributed to this report.