WASHINGTON – President Donald Trump suggested on Tuesday that he will not cooperate with a Democratic investigation into alleged crimes of corruption committed by him and his associates and claimed that the lawmakers’ requests for documents and information are part of a campaign to frustrate his re-election options in the 2020 vote.
“It’s a disgrace for our country ... So the campaign begins,” said Trump at a White House event on suicide prevention among veterans.
On Monday, the House Judiciary Committee, which is under Democratic control and headed by Rep. Jerrold Nadler, sent detailed letters to 81 institutions, companies and presidential advisers asking them to hand over documents related to Trump’s first two years in office as part of an investigation into alleged corrupt acts and obstruction of justice by the president.
Among the people receiving the letters are two of Trump’s children – Donald Jr. and Eric – his stepson Jared Kushner and three former advisers: Hope Hicks, Sean Spicer and Stephen Bannon.
Also receiving letters were institutions including the White House, the Department of Justice and the Trump Organization.
The president, who on Monday had confirmed that he would “cooperate” with the Democratic investigation, on Tuesday did not hide his anger with the probe and hinted that he could oppose the delivery of documents, just as – he said – his predecessor, Barack Obama, had done in the face of what he said were similar congressional requests.
Trump said that Obama had not turned over a “single letter” to Congress, suggesting that he would follow the same course.
According to CNN, the White House is reviewing how to limit the number of documents it turns over to Congress and is planning to comply with the requests in the various letters to the minimum extent possible by invoking presidential executive privilege, which entitles the president – under wide-ranging conditions – to the confidentiality of his conversations with staffers and others.
In a series of morning tweets, Trump said Tuesday that the Democrats “have gone stone cold CRAZY.”
“81 letter sent to innocent people to harass them. They won’t get ANYTHING done for our Country!” the president said on Twitter, adding that the lawmakers’ requests amount to “PRESIDENTIAL HARASSMENT” and constitute “The greatest overreach in the history of our Country.”
Trump went on to say that “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!”
Meanwhile, Democratic lawmakers on Tuesday denounced the fact that the White House was refusing to provide them with the documents they had requested regarding the granting of a top secret security clearance to Kushner.
Last year, Kushner lost the top secret clearance he had enjoyed since Trump came into office because the FBI had still not completed its background check of his complicated business and personal ties and finances, but shortly thereafter he received a permanent security clearance to view and deal with secret data.
Last week, The New York Times reported that it was Trump who had exerted pressure for his son-in-law to get the renewed clearance, a move that outraged House Democrats, who requested documents on how that decision was made.
White House Counsel Pat Cipollone responded in a letter on Monday that was made public Tuesday by the Democrats that the administration would not turn over those documents because the request was “unprecedented and extraordinarily intrusive.”