WASHINGTON — House Speaker Nancy Pelosi on Wednesday characterized President Trump’s description of “ridiculous, partisan investigations” as a threat to Democrats.
“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,” Trump said during his State of the Union Address Tuesday night.
The next morning, Pelosi, who has gone toe to toe with the president since Democrats took over the House last month, pushed back.
“That was a threat. Presidents should not bring threats to the floor of the House,” the California Democrat told a group of reporters at the U.S. Capitol on Wednesday.
Despite the president’s remarks, House Democrats moved forward with their inquiries, as the chairman of the House Intelligence Committee said his panel will expand its Russia probe into Trump, including whether the Kremlin holds “leverage” over the president.
On that committee, lawmakers voted Wednesday to send more than 50 interview transcripts to special counsel Robert Mueller, who could potentially use them to pursue charges of perjury.
The committee chairman, Rep. Adam Schiff, D-Calif., said the panel will deepen its investigations of Russian election interference, seeking possible links to Trump’s businesses, his campaign and his administration, in an effort to provide the American public with a comprehensive account of what happened in the 2016 election.
Pelosi said congressional oversight is not the same as investigations, and “if we didn’t do it, we would be delinquent in our duty.”
It’s a point that House majority leader, Rep. Steny Hoyer, D-Md., also made, arguing Congress has a constitutional responsibility to both investigate and legislate .
“We can chew gum and walk at the same time,’’ Hoyer said. “If it was a threat, it was unfortunate and certainly is not going to have any impact on the responsibility that the Congress has to oversee the operations of government, the honesty of government … He seems to threaten everybody though. It’s a pattern for him.”
When asked what Trump was specifically threatening, Pelosi said that he wasn’t going to cooperate with them “unless we didn’t exercise our constitutional responsibility to oversight.”
“It was an all out threat. But you know what? It was a speech, it’s a presentation, it’s a performance,” she said.
“What we’re interested in is what he said about wanting to lower prescription drug prices. If he’s sincere, we can find our common ground,” she said.
Pelosi also insisted that a moment that has gone viral was genuine on her part.
“We must reject the politics of revenge, resistance and retribution and embrace the boundless potential of cooperation, compromise and the common good,” Trump said.
That led to Pelosi standing up, reaching her arms out toward the president and clapping.
“It wasn’t sarcastic,” she said.
She said at that moment she wanted Trump to know what he had said was “very welcome.”
Contributing: Bart Jansen and Deborah Barfield Berry
Exclusive: Nancy Pelosi vows ‘different world’ for Trump, no more ‘rubber stamp’ in new Congress
Donald Trump’s power dynamic with Nancy Pelosi will be on full display at the State of the Union
In Trump era, Nancy Pelosi admits to nostalgia about George W. Bush. Here’s why