President Trump said Thursday that House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi’s threat to weaponize committee subpoena power if Democrats win Congress is illegal and grounds for the administration to fight any subpoena all the way to the Supreme Court.
“Pelosi says she’s going to mechanize the speakership and use it as a great negotiation with the president. That’s an illegal statement,” Mr. Trump said in an exclusive interview with The Washington Times.
The president remained optimistic about Republicans retaining their House majority, but he fumed about Mrs. Pelosi’s subpoena threat should her party prevail in the midterm elections Tuesday.
He said the threat begged a lengthy court battle.
“That alone takes two years to get it to the Supreme Court — that statement — before you do anything,” he said, becoming animated with indignation. “You heard her the other night.”
Mrs. Pelosi made the remark last week at CNN’s campaign forum.
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“Subpoena power is interesting, to use it or not to use it,” Mrs. Pelosi said in an interview with Dana Bash. “It’s a great arrow to have in your quiver in terms of negotiating on other subjects.”
Pelosi spokeswoman Ashley Etienne responded that a Democratic Congress would perform its duty to be a check on the president.
“This Republican Congress has abandoned its Constitutional responsibility to exercise oversight of the government, deepening the swamp of corruption that has consumed Washington under the Trump Administration. A Democratic Majority will restore checks and balances with responsible, focused oversight that holds the Administration accountable for its conduct,” she said.
Mr. Trump also said he wasn’t worried about getting impeached by a Democrat-run House, although many on the left clamor for the move.
“They can play that game, but I can play that game also,” said Mr. Trump, adding that he hoped Democrats would rather get things done for the country.
In an interview in the Oval Office, Mr. Trump also told The Times:
⦁ State Department spokeswoman Heather Nauert is “under strong consideration” to replace U.N. Ambassador Nikki Haley:
“She’s a talented person, with us a long time.”
⦁ He would authorize U.S. troops “in a heartbeat” to use force on the southern border to stop illegal immigrants:
“We are going to control the border. If we can do it in a nice way, that would be preferable, but regardless we are going to control the border.”
⦁ He doesn’t expect to announce a trade deal with China at the G-20 summit later this month, despite progress in talks:
“Eventually, we are going to make a very reasonable deal with China. I can tell you they want to make it.”
⦁ He said he could “totally shut off” Iran and cripple its economy with oil sanctions but is not ready to go that far:
“I don’t want to totally destroy their country. I’m not looking to double the price of oil.”
⦁ He says Oprah Winfrey’s endorsement of the Democratic candidate for governor of Georgia won’t make a difference in the race:
“Oprah can go and Obama can go, I don’t think it’s going to make a difference.”
The president spoke to The Times for nearly 30 minutes, seated at the Resolute Desk with White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders and Communications Director Bill Shine.
He spoke at length about his final campaign blitz for Republicans, as he fights the historic trend of the party in power losing seats in the midterms.
Mr. Trump said that endorsements usually don’t make a difference but that he repeatedly has moved the needle in key races by showing up and leading one of his massive rallies.
“My endorsements have meant a lot,” the president said.
The interview was held shortly before Mr. Trump departed the White House on a campaign trip to Missouri for GOP Senate candidate Josh Hawley. It was his second of 11 rallies he will hold across the country in a final week-long sprint before Election Day.
The president said he believes his campaign appearances and endorsements are boosting many GOP candidates. He pointed to his rally in Houston last week for Sen. Ted Cruz, Texas Republican, who is in a tight race against Democratic Rep. Beto O’Rourke.
“Since that time, you haven’t seen one story on Ted Cruz,” the president said. “That was the hot story two weeks ago.”
The rallies, which attract tens of thousands of diehard supporters, could make the difference for Republicans, he said.
The president noted that a Rasmussen Reports tracking poll Thursday showed his job-approval rating up to 50 percent.
“Even for me, it’s pretty amazing,” Mr. Trump said.
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