US President Donald Trump is opposed to current and former White House aides providing testimonies to congressional committees on Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s Russia report, according to an interview published in The Washington Post on Tuesday.
Trump’s remarks come as the struggle over investigations between Democrats in the House of Representatives and the Trump administration has intensified, as a former White House official defied a subpoena and the Treasury Department ignored a deadline for providing Trump’s tax returns.
Trump told The Washington Post that the White House cooperated with Mueller’s investigation into Russian meddling in the 2016 US presidential election and did not need to comply with congressional committees, which are probing possible obstruction of justice on the president’s part.
“There is no reason to go any further, and especially in Congress where it’s very partisan – obviously very partisan,” Trump said, according to the newspaper.
On Tuesday, The Washington Post also reported that the White House was planning to oppose a subpoena issued by the House Committee on the Judiciary for former White House Counsel Don McGahn to testify.
The newspaper, quoting White House officials who asked to remain anonymous, said the White House planned to assert executive privilege to prevent McGahn and other current and former Trump administration officials from testifying.
Trump said that the White House lawyers had not “made a final, final decision” about whether to assert executive privilege, according to the Post.
However, Trump added that he opposed cooperating with House Democrats, who he said were trying to score political points against him.
“I don’t want people testifying to a party, because that is what they’re doing if they do this,” The Washington Post quoted Trump as saying.
‘Moment in history’
The Mueller report is a product of a counterintelligence probe looking into the Russian government’s efforts to interfere in the 2016 US presidential election.
According to the report, Trump called McGahn in June 2017 to say he should tell Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein to remove the special counsel because he had conflicts of interest. McGahn did not carry out the order.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi of the Democrats said on Tuesday the results of the so-called Mueller report, the investigations carried out by congressional committees and the White House’s responses to these, had produced a pivotal “moment in our history.”
“Now we see the administration engaging in stonewalling of the facts coming to the American people,” Pelosi said in an interview for the Time 100 Summit in New York.
Also on Tuesday, Carl Kline, a former White House senior security official, did not comply with a subpoena by the oversight committee of House of Representatives, as instructed by the Trump administration.
The committee has been looking into security clearances issued to senior officials despite “disqualifying issues” in their backgrounds, including Trump’s son-in-law Jared Kushner, former national security adviser Michael Flynn and former White House aide Rob Porter.
The Treasury Department also recently ignored a second demand from Democrats in the House of Representatives to file six years of Trump’s tax returns.
Trump and his business organisation sued Elijah Cummings, the Democratic chairman of the House oversight committee, on Monday to block the subpoena that seeks the financial records.