Angered by investigative efforts in Congress pressed by House Democrats, President Donald Trump on Wednesday cut short an Oval Office meeting with Democratic leaders on an infrastructure bill, walking into the Rose Garden to tell reporters that he would not work with Democrats on major legislative initiatives until Congress ends investigations related to the Russia probe and more.
"Get these phony investigations over with," the President said, clearly aggravated by comments made earlier in the day by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, who accused Mr. Trump of engaging in a 'cover-up' by ignoring subpoenas and refusing to turn over documents in a series of investigations led by Democrats.
"I don't do cover-ups," Mr. Trump said with a distinct note of frustration in his voice, as he again said the Mueller Report should have been the last word on the investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 elections.
"As President Trump has always said: No Collusion. No Obstruction," the White House tweeted soon after his impromptu Rose Garden remarks.
President Trump: "I walked into the room and I told Senator Schumer, Speaker Pelosi, 'I want to do infrastructure. I want to do it more than you want to do it…but you know what, you can't do it under these circumstances. So get these phony investigations over with.'" pic.twitter.com/VR7oB4GbxM— CSPAN (@cspan) May 22, 2019
Per person familiar with what happened in the room before this Rose Garden presser: POTUS did not sit down or shake anyone's hand. He told Dems that "once your investigation is done – we can talk about these things." And then he left the room before anyone else could speak.— Katie Rogers (@katierogers) May 22, 2019
Two Democratic sources familiar with the WH / Dem meeting tell NBC News: pic.twitter.com/7CuGtvsOrH— Alex Moe (@AlexNBCNews) May 22, 2019
Returning to the Capitol from the White House, Democrats said the scene seemed like a set up.
.@SenSchumer on President Trump and infrastructure: "To watch what happened in the White House would make your jaw drop…it's clear that this was not a spontaneous move on the president's part. It was planned." pic.twitter.com/kIeFhHbDXP— CSPAN (@cspan) May 22, 2019
"It's clear that this was not a spontaneous move on the President's part," said Senate Democratic Leader Charles Schumer, as Democrats accused the President of doing everything he could to avoid bipartisan agreements on issues like infrastructure, which was the subject of today's sit down at the White House.
“I pray for the President,” Speaker Pelosi said afterwards.
Just last night, Mr. Trump had sent Democrats a letter asking that infrastructure efforts be delayed until after approval of the US-Mexico-Canada free trade agreement - which still has not even been submitted to the Congress for a vote.