White House Spokesperson Discusses Trump's Remarks On Working With Democrats
AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:
Another false start for Infrastructure Week in Washington. This time, things fell apart over the dueling words of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and President Trump. On the eve of what was supposed to be a policy meeting with the White House, Democratic congressional leaders fended off calls from some in their caucus pushing for impeachment. And while Pelosi beat back those calls this morning, she also said this.
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NANCY PELOSI: We believe that no one is above the law, including the president of the United States, and we believe that the president of the United States is engaged in a cover-up - in a cover-up.
CORNISH: Things collapsed quickly after when the president walked out of a White House meeting with congressional leaders and followed up with a Rose Garden press conference, saying nothing would get done on infrastructure until Democratic investigations stop.
Adam Kennedy is a White House spokesperson. He joins us now. Welcome back to the program.
ADAM KENNEDY: Thank you for having me on.
CORNISH: So the president also said no cooperation on legislation while the investigations are ongoing. So does this mean nothing will happen on, say, the budget, on immigration, a disaster bill while these investigations are happening?
KENNEDY: No, I think what it says is that the president doesn't have a true partner to negotiate with and compromise with if the other side's going to accuse him of doing cover-ups and crimes right before meeting with them. That's just not the way you meet with somebody if you want to make a deal.
CORNISH: So we didn't hear an ultimatum today?
KENNEDY: I think what we heard is the president saying that if you want to negotiate in good faith, you have to treat me in good faith. And that means not accusing me of something I never did, which is a cover-up.
CORNISH: You know, Democrats have been making a lot of the fact that, you know, he entered the Rose Garden with signs on the podium talking about the Mueller investigation. For something that was supposedly impromptu, was the president going into that meeting with good faith?
KENNEDY: Oh, absolutely. I think what the president was pointing out is something we've been pointing out for a long time, which is that Democrats in the House of Representatives are trying to redo the Mueller report. We see that in a number of committees, where they're trying to hear the same witnesses that Mueller has already heard from, see the same documents Mueller has already examined.
And unfortunately, it's just really a waste of taxpayer money and taxpayer time when there's so much else out there that we could be doing, including infrastructure, including health care and including immigration.
CORNISH: Now, we spoke with House Majority Whip James Clyburn in another part of the program. He said that today was the first time that the president said that the investigations would be a problem.
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JAMES CLYBURN: These investigations were going on three weeks ago when we were there at the White House. He didn't raise any objections at that time. He made it very clear that we could do infrastructure. He put the $2 trillion bill on the table.
CORNISH: The Democrats have been in control of the House since January, have been investigating since then. What's different now?
KENNEDY: Well, with all due respect, the president said during the State of the Union that the Democrats had a choice between cooperation and investigation. And unfortunately, the Democrats have chosen to go down the same roads that Mueller went, and they would come to the same conclusions, which is that there was no collusion and no obstruction.
But like I said earlier, the president doesn't have a truly honest partner to deal with if they're calling him a liar, and they're saying he's covering some things up, and they're saying he's committed crimes. You just can't negotiate with somebody like that.
CORNISH: But he has issued a blanket denial for subpoenas, right? And just this afternoon, a federal judge in New York ruled that Congress can proceed with a subpoena for the president's financial records from Deutsche Bank and Capital One. It's the second such ruling in recent days. I mean, doesn't it suggest that the ongoing investigations do have merit?
KENNEDY: What it suggests is that they're trying to redo something that has already been done, which is look into political interference with the Trump campaign. The Mueller investigation already looked into that. It came to one conclusion, which is that there was no collusion.
CORNISH: If there's nothing to hide, why not cooperate? And why issue a blanket denial of subpoenas?
KENNEDY: How many times must the president cooperate before we realize that he has been telling the truth the whole time? I mean, really, this is becoming ridiculous. The president cooperated fully with the Mueller investigation. He didn't in any way interfere with it or try to stop the report from coming out.
The report came to a conclusion. The Democrats said they would accept that conclusion back when this started. And now what they're saying is, oh, no, we have to do it. We know better than a former FBI director in terms of how to investigate the president. It's, frankly, ridiculous.
CORNISH: We know these questions will be ongoing. Adam Kennedy is a White House spokesperson.
Thank you for speaking with ALL THINGS CONSIDERED.
KENNEDY: Thank you so much for having me. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.