Washington, May 23 (IANS) US President Donald Trump cut short a scheduled meeting with top Democrats on infrastructure and announced that he wouldn’t attempt any further bipartisanship until the congressional investigations in the aftermath of special counsel Robert Mueller’s Russia report conclude.
Following the meeting with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and her Senate counterpart Senator Chuck Schumer on Wednesday, the President’s 12-minute remarks to reporters at the White House Rose Garden marked a clear breakdown in talks, reports CBS News.
“We did nothing wrong. They would have loved to say we colluded … they were out to get us,” Trump told the reporters.
“I’ve said from the beginning — right from the beginning — you probably can’t go down two tracks. You can go down the investigation track or you can go down the investment track.”
Democrats, he said, had chosen the former — and he could not work with them until that concludes.
“We’re going to go down one track at a time. Get these phony investigations over with.”
Trump called Mueller’s Russia probe “a takedown attempt at the President of the United States”.
Officials said the Rose Garden outburst was prompted by an assertion earlier in the day from Pelosi, who accused Trump of engaging in a “cover up” after emerging from a meeting with Democrats to discuss impeaching the President.
Pelosi has resisted calls from Democrats to take that step, but Trump’s resistance to oversight requests has caused the impeachment calls to grow louder.
Upon learning of Pelosi’s comment, Trump erupted in anger, CNN reported, citing people familiar with the matter.
He instructed aides to begin preparing the Rose Garden for his event. That included printing out a poster declaring “no collusion” that was affixed to his podium, underneath the presidential seal.
The meeting with Pelosi and Schumer was intended to discuss a bipartisan infrastructure spending package. But Trump said during the meeting he couldn’t work with them until their investigations were over. The meeting lasted only a few minutes, reports say.
In the Cabinet Room meeting, Trump didn’t shake any of the lawmakers’ hands or sit in his seat, a person familiar with the session said. He left the room before anyone else could speak.
It carried echoes of a similar walk-out during this year’s government shutdown, when Trump invited Democratic congressional leaders to the White House only to abruptly depart the meeting after they informed him they still did not support funding for a border wall.