US President Donald Trump said Monday that Congress “can’t impeach” him over the findings of the Mueller report into Russian election meddling and his alleged attempts to hamper the investigation.
Defiantly insisting that he did nothing wrong, Trump also denied a portrait of dysfunction in the White House where disobedient aides are said to have saved him from committing obstruction of justice by refusing to carry out his instructions.
Asked by reporters at a White House Easter egg event for children whether the prospect of impeachment worries him, Trump replied: “Not even a little bit.”
“Only high crimes and misdemeanors can lead to impeachment. There were no crimes by me (No Collusion, No Obstruction), so you can’t impeach,” Trump stated earlier on Twitter.
However, Democrats believe the Mueller report has revealed serious wrongdoing by the president and have yet to decide on impeachment.
The report confirmed that Russian operatives had attempted to interfere in the 2016 election to help Trump beat Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton, including by hacking into email accounts.
The report also found that Trump’s campaign took advantage of the impact on Clinton, but did not deliberately reach out to collude with the Russians.
During the probe, Trump repeatedly tried to hamper Mueller’s work, the report said.
But Mueller did not rule one way or the other on whether Trump had committed the crime of obstruction of justice, effectively leaving Congress to take up the matter or not.
Democrats, who control the lower house, are so far mostly holding off from calling for impeachment proceedings, which would be immensely divisive ahead of 2020 presidential elections.
However, Democratic 2020 hopeful Kamala Harris said during a presidential town hall broadcast on CNN Monday night that she believes “Congress should take the steps towards impeachment.”
That made her the second candidate to do so, after Senator Elizabeth Warren called for impeachment proceedings last week.
Meanwhile, powerful House committees plan to dig further into the scandal and are pushing to be given the whole Mueller report, including parts currently blacked out for security or legal reasons.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said that Democratic leaders would hold a conference call on Monday to discuss strategy.
“While our views range from proceeding to investigate the findings of the Mueller report or proceeding directly to impeachment, we all firmly agree that we should proceed down a path of finding the truth,” she said in a statement.
House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerry Nadler issued a subpoena on Monday for former White House counsel Don McGahn to testify. McGahn was a key witness in the Mueller probe and will likely be asked about Trump’s alleged obstruction of justice.
– ‘Nobody disobeys’ Trump? –
Trump is spinning the Mueller report as a complete exoneration. He has gone as far as saying repeatedly that the probe was a political hit job amounting to “treason” and “spying.”
Democrats, however, say that the report has demonstrated in detail that Trump is unfit for office, even if the evidence would be insufficient to prove crimes in court.
Whatever the truth, Mueller’s report has inflicted damage on the former real estate tycoon and reality TV showman’s reputation through stories of close aides maneuvering to stop the president from going too far in his attempts to slow down the probe.
“The President’s efforts to influence the investigation were mostly unsuccessful, but that is largely because the persons who surrounded the President declined to carry out orders or accede to his requests,” Mueller wrote in his report.
This narrative clearly annoys Trump, who has built a career on his image as a ruthless boss, famous during his television performances on “The Apprentice” for telling contestants: “You’re fired!”
Even though the aides allegedly disobeyed him so that they could prevent more serious damage, Trump denied Monday that any sort of insubordination would be possible.
“Nobody disobeys my orders,” he said at the Easter egg event.
In addition to the ongoing fight over what to do about the Mueller report, Trump faces danger from congressional probes into his business interests and tax history, which in a break with tradition he has refused to make public.
On Monday, Trump and his businesses filed a Washington federal court lawsuit to try and block a subpoena issued by the House Oversight and Reform Committee to gain access to their financial records.
“The Democratic Party, with its newfound control of the US House of Representatives, has declared all-out political war against President Donald J. Trump,” the filing said.
Longtime Trump loyalist warns the president that his racist tweets are about to permanently stain his image
On Tuesday, former Trump administration official Anthony Scaramucci criticized President Trump for telling four freshman congresswomen to go back to their own countries. All four are American citizens.
Scaramucci accused the president of playing to his base, in a way that has dangerous manifestations: for the president and the country.
“He’s blowing very hard on a dog-whistle that every ethnic group that’s landed in the United States has had to hear,” Scaramucci told the BBC.
“I don’t think the president is a racist, but here’s the thing: if you continue to say and act in that manner, then we all have to look at him and say, ‘OK, well, maybe you weren’t a racist, but now you’re turning into one.'”
Ted Cruz defends Trump by comparing him to Twitter trolls who tell him to go back to Canada
Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) on Tuesday issued an unusual defense of President Donald Trump's racist remarks against four Democratic congresswomen by comparing the president to an internet troll.
According to Politico reporter Burgess Everett, Cruz deflected criticism of Trump's racist tweets against Reps. Rashiba Tlaib (D-MI), Ilhan Omar (D-MN), Ayanna Pressley (D-MA) and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) by arguing that "lefties on Twitter every day" tell him to "go back" to Canada, where he was born in 1970.
Senators press Facebook on ‘trust’ in hearing on digital currency
US senators Tuesday questioned whether Facebook can be trusted with a massive financial responsibility at the first public hearing on its plan for a global digital currency called Libra.
The lawmakers added to criticism of the plan unveiled by Facebook last month with two dozen partners on the digital coin, touted as a way to lower costs and facilitate cross-border money transfers.
David Marcus, Facebook's executive heading the digital coin effort, defended the plan during more than two hours at a Senate Banking Committee hearing on Libra, pledging to comply with all regulations to thwart money laundering and criminal activity.