During Tuesday night's State of the Union address, President Donald Trump pushed back at Democrats' oversight investigations of him, saying:
"If there is going to be peace and legislation, there cannot be war and investigation."
"If there is going to be peace and legislation, there cannot be war and investigation," Pres. Trump says. "It just… https://t.co/dSwhmdbeA6— ABC News (@ABC News) 1549420079.0
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi responded Wednesday morning, telling reporters after a Democratic Caucus meeting that the president had issued a direct threat.
"That was a threat. The president should not bring threats to the floor of the House...He said he wasn’t going to cooperate unless we didn’t exercise our constitutional responsibility to oversight."
Hakeem Jeffries (D-NY), the House Democratic Caucus chairman, concurred with Pelosi.
"We will not be bullied by the president of the United States," he said. "That said, we are not going to overreach, we're not going to over-investigate, we're not going to over-politicize our constitutional responsibility."
Pelosi's statement also made waves on social media, with many suggesting that the president made the remarks because he knows House investigative committees will investigate his financial dealings, particularly his tax returns, which he has repeatedly withheld from public view.
“It was a threat; it was an all-out threat.” @SpeakerPelosi says the House will not be intimidated by Trump's deman… https://t.co/Zi7DCVjlgE— (((JonathanWeisman))) (@(((JonathanWeisman)))) 1549471794.0
#Pelosi says she views #Trump's warning about investigations as a '#threat' https://t.co/qgmenZ94DN Lets keep it… https://t.co/IU0THHhrk7— STAR (@STAR) 1549477384.0
.@SpeakerPelosi is taking names and giving no ground on Trump's threat to cut House investigations. Pelosi: "It wa… https://t.co/qVtH0l3oCI— Victoria Brownworth (@Victoria Brownworth) 1549481924.0
Representative Elijah Cummings (D-NY), who chairs the House Oversight Committee, also scoffed at the president's statements.
"Of course, the Constitution requires us to do both. That is exactly how it works," Cummings said in a statement last night.
Cummings, in particular, signaled he would launch probes into the Trump administration after taking office.
“I want to look at all the things the president has done that go against the mandates of our Founding Fathers in the Constitution,” he said shortly after the midterms. “We need accountability, transparency, integrity, and honesty from this Administration.”
Cummings wasted no time: Ahead of being sworn in, his committee compiled a list of 64 subpoenas and inquiries into Trump administration activities that were denied when Republicans controlled the chamber. The budget for the Democrats will allow them to hire lawyers and investigators and fill key staffing positions.
The majority will have the power to issue subpoenas and demand records and testimony from administration officials. The majority will also have the power to request the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) turn over Trump’s tax returns, which he has made every effort to conceal from public view.
“I’m not looking for retribution, life is too short,” Cummings said. While we are dealing with whatever may come in the storm of Trump, I have to keep in mind that there are people who have to live day to day.”
Five individuals, Cummings included, have the power to subpoena the Trump administration. The others are Maxine Waters (CA), Adam Schiff (CA), Jerry Nadler (NY), and Richard Neal (MA):
- Cummings, as mentioned above, will chair the House Oversight Committee, which would supervise federal agencies, programs, activities, and policy implementation.
- Waters, poised to lead the House Financial Services Committee, has pledged to subpoena officials at financial regulatory agencies for information and testimony.
- Schiff will chair the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence, which will re-examine President Trump’s relationship with Russian operatives.
- Nadler will chair the House Judiciary Committee. Immigration, voting rights, and Justice Department oversight would be under his jurisdiction.
- Neal will lead the House Ways and Means Committee, which would oversee tax policy and would have the authority to review the president’s tax returns.