President Trump says if Democrats try to impeach him, he'll take it to the Supreme Court

David Jackson

WASHINGTON – President Donald Trump said Wednesday he would involve the Supreme Court if Democrats tried to impeach him over special counsel Robert Mueller's findings in the Russia investigation. But he did not explain how he might do that.

In a series of morning tweets and comments to reporters, Trump criticized the Democratic-run House for pursuing hearings and investigations on obstruction of justice claims in the Mueller report. He said his administration would fight all incoming House subpoenas in a variety of investigations that could lead to impeachment.

"The Mueller Report, despite being written by Angry Democrats and Trump Haters, and with unlimited money behind it ($35,000,000), didn’t lay a glove on me. I DID NOTHING WRONG," Trump said in one of his tweets.

The president said that "if the partisan Dems ever tried to Impeach, I would first head to the U.S. Supreme Court." Trump wrote, "Not only are there no 'High Crimes and Misdemeanors,' there are no Crimes by me at all," and he included his 2016 opponent Hillary Clinton among the Democrats he blamed for the investigation.

Democrats said Trump fears what Congress might find out about his conduct. Attorneys noted that impeachment is a political process in the domain of Congress, and the courts probably would not entertain a challenge to it.

"The Mueller report paints a picture of Trump constantly told by aides, lawyers, and other officials that much of what he did was wrong," tweeted Renato Mariotti, a former federal prosecutor. "As this tweet makes clear, he has learned nothing."

The release of Mueller’s report prompted outrage among Democrats and stirred a debate over whether to consider articles of impeachment against Trump.

The 448-page report detailed multiple contacts between Trump campaign associates and Russian operatives but said there was not evidence that they amounted to a criminal conspiracy. The report documented a series of actions by Trump to derail the special counsel's investigation and lying by associates over their Russia contacts, but it did not reach a conclusion on whether the president obstructed justice.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and other Democratic leaders sought to tamp down talk of impeaching Trump in the run-up to the Mueller report's release. They argued that voters want the party to focus more on issues such as health care and jobs that directly affect them.

In the days since a redacted version of the Mueller report was made public, a growing number of Democrats has raised the possibility of impeachment. Pelosi said the House will focus on fact-finding first, leaving impeachment on the table if the facts lead there.

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Throughout the morning, Trump tweeted complaints about congressional investigations that could be the basis for an impeachment drive. "Congress has no time to legislate," Trump said, "they only want to continue the Witch Hunt, which I have already won."

Before leaving for an anti-opioids event in Atlanta, Trump urged lawmakers to "get back to infrastructure, get back to cutting taxes, get back to lowering drug prices.”

Claiming there has been enough investigating, Trump said, "We're fighting all the subpoenas."

Trump and Congress are engaged in legal battles over House investigations involving the Mueller report, Trump's taxes and security clearances.

Trump aides are likely to try to block congressional testimony by former White House counsel Don McGahn, a key figure in Mueller's investigation.

McGahn spoke to Mueller's team about Trump's attempts to have the special counsel removed from his post, efforts that prosecutors said could amount to obstruction of justice. The House Judiciary Committee subpoenaed McGahn.

The White House may seek to block McGahn's testimony to Congress by asserting executive privilege over his conversations with the president.

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Rep. Jerry Nadler, D-N.Y., chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, said the moment for executive privilege has passed. He described the White House's plan as "one more act of obstruction by an administration desperate to prevent the public from talking about the president’s behavior."

The Treasury Department delayed until at least May 6 a decision on whether to respond to a House committee's request for copies of Trump's tax records. It's unlikely the administration will comply with the request.

In a letter to Rep. Richard Neal, D-Mass., chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee, Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin said he "cannot act upon your request unless and until it is determined to be consistent with law.”

Neal said he plans "to consult with counsel about my next steps," and the tax dispute could also wind up in court, perhaps the Supreme Court.

The White House instructed former personnel security director Carl Kline not to appear before the House Committee on Oversight and Reform, which is investigating problems with security clearances granted to some officials at the White House. The investigation includes the question of whether Trump intervened to get a clearance for son-in-law Jared Kushner.

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Rep. Elijah Cummings, D-Md., the Oversight committee chairman, said he will seek to hold Kline in contempt of Congress.

This week, Trump and his private business filed a federal lawsuit to block the House from obtaining financial records from the company’s longtime accountant.

Attorney Rudy Giuliani, who represented Trump during the Mueller investigation, said he supports the White House's aggressive approach.

"I would fight all those subpoenas," Giuliani said. "I haven't seen one yet that has a legislative purpose."

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This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: President Trump says if Democrats try to impeach him, he'll take it to the Supreme Court