WASHINGTON (CN) – Moments after Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi accused President Donald Trump of being engaged in a “cover-up,” the president told reporters gathered outside of the White House Wednesday that he would not negotiate with Congress on any policy, of any sort, until multiple congressional probes involving him conclude.
“I don’t do cover-ups,” Trump said from the Rose Garden this morning, standing at a podium that featured a poster describing the estimated cost of Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation.
“They hated President Trump with a passion,” Trump said of the authorities tasked to conduct the special counsel’s probe. “The crime was committed on the other side. The whole thing was a take-down attempt at the president of the United States. Honestly, you ought to be ashamed of yourselves for the way you reported so dishonestly.”
Trump’s tense remarks came after a long-scheduled meeting with Speaker Pelosi and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer. The lawmakers expected to discuss the president’s plans for infrastructure projects and to negotiate on a budget.
Senator Schumer told reporters after the meeting, however, that it was abundantly clear from the moment he and the House speaker arrived at the Oval Office that the president had no intention to discuss infrastructure.
“To watch what happened would make your jaw drop,” Schumer said.
Pelosi attended the Oval Office gathering after a closed-door session earlier Wednesday with the House Democratic caucus, and Schumer said Trump was incensed by reports of what that meeting entailed.
“If Democrats continue their investigations, there will be no negotiations on infrastructure or any other issues,” Trump said, as quoted by Schumer.
The lawmaker also said Trump had the curtains in the room drawn at the start of the meeting for effect, and that there was a small space at the head of the table cleared away for the president to speak.
Citing sources inside the room, Politico reported that the caucus session involved fellow lawmakers calling on Pelosi to launch impeachment proceedings against the president.
The speaker is said to have rejected their pleas, drawing pushback from at least one lawmaker. “Betting everything on the election is a historic mistake,” Representative Jared Huffman of California told Pelosi, according to Politico.
Pelosi told reporters Wednesday she believed it was important to “follow the facts.”
“We believe that no one is above the law, including the president of the United States,” she said. “And we believe the president of the United States is engaged in a cover-up.”
Following the Rose Garden press conference, Pelosi told reporters she thought the president would have jumped at a chance to have his own infrastructure legacy project like Teddy Roosevelt or Thomas Jefferson.
“We hoped to give this president a signature infrastructure initiative … for some reason, maybe it was lack of confidence on his part, he couldn’t match the greatness of the challenge we have,” Pelosi said. “He wasn’t really respectful of the reason why the Congress and White House should work together on this. He just took a pass, and I wonder why he did that. In any event, I pray for the president and I pray for the United States.”
Trump did not take questions from the Rose Garden Wednesday afternoon and said very little about any threat of impeachment. In fact, the president was unable to say the word in its entirety.
“Can you believe this? They want to talk about the ‘I’ word,” Trump said. “I don’t speak to Russians about campaigns. I don’t say, ‘Oh, let’s call Russia!’ It’s a hoax. The greatest hoax in history.”