Fresh off Republican setbacks in the midterms, President Trump went on a blistering anti-media tirade on Wednesday and threatened to probe Democrats for “leaks” if the party’s newly-elected House majority subpoenas his tax returns or launches investigations into his administration.
Speaking at a news conference at the White House, the President at first struck a conciliatory tone, calling for across-the-aisle cooperation and even suggesting Democratic control in the House could result in a “beautiful bipartisan type of situation.”
But, shortly after concluding his prepared remarks, Trump returned to the combative tone he has maintained throughout the midterm campaign season when asked how he would react to House Democrats conducting oversight investigations into his administration.
“They can play that game, but we can play it better,” Trump said. “Because we have a thing called the United States Senate. And a lot of questionable things were done.”
Trump didn’t specify what has been “questionable,” but earlier in the day he tweeted he would consider probing Democrats for “leaks of Classified information” if they investigate him. The President, without evidence, has accused Senate Democrats of leaking information relating to Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh’s confirmation process.
The President erupted when CNN’s Jim Acosta pressed him on whether he’s concerned about the House reopening its investigation into the his campaign’s ties to Russia.
“I’ll tell you what, CNN should be ashamed of itself having you working for them,” Trump fired at Acosta. “You are a rude, terrible person. You shouldn’t be working for CNN.”
Democratic midterm candidates campaigned on the promise of providing a stronger check on the Trump administration and a source familiar with the matter told the Daily News on Wednesday that various House committees are prepared to investigate Trump’s personal finances and eventually subpoena his tax returns, if he refuses to release them.
Trump, reiterating a factually dubious defense, said he has broken with longstanding presidential norms and refused to release his tax returns because they remain under audit. In fact, there’s nothing stopping Trump from releasing the returns, whether or not they’re being reviewed by the Internal Revenue Service.
The President also claimed his returns are incomprehensible.
“They're extremely complex. People wouldn't understand them,” he said. “People don't understand tax returns.”