Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) told reporters Wednesday morning that Democrats believe that President Donald Trump is "engaged in a cover-up." The president responded by walking out of a scheduled meeting with Democrats and reportedly declaring that he could not work with them as long as the investigations continued.
Her remarks came following a meeting with House Democrats whose calls to impeach Trump have continued to grow, CNN reported.
What did Pelosi say?
Pelosi, who has said repeatedly that she does not want to start the impeachment process, told reporters:
It was a very positive meeting, a respectful sharing of ideas. And, I think, a very impressive presentation by our chairs. We do believe that it's important for, to follow the facts. We believe that no one is above the law, including the President of the United States, and we believe that the President of the United States is engaged in a cover-up — in a cover-up, and that was the nature of the meeting.
What did President Trump say?
Trump responded to Pelosi's remarks in an impromptu news conference in the Rose Garden at the White House.
"I don't do cover-ups," Trump told reporters.
Trump abruptly ended the infrastructure talks shortly before his news conference where he told reporters that he had hoped to have a productive meeting with Pelosi and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.).
"So, I came here to do a meeting on infrastructure with Democrats, not really thinking they wanted to do infrastructure or anything other than investigate," the president said. "I just saw that Nancy Pelosi, just before our meeting made a statement that we believe that the president of the United States is involved in a cover-up."
"Well, it turns out I'm the most — and I think most of you would agree to this — I'm the most transparent president probably in the history of this country," Trump continued. "And instead of walking in happily into a meeting, I walk in to look at people that had just said that I was doing a cover-up. I don't do cover-ups."
Trump said there was nothing to discuss until Democrats "get these phony investigations over with."
New York Times White House correspondent Katie Rogers reported that the president refused to shake hands with anyone when he entered the room and said he will not work with Democrats until they end their investigations.
"Per person familiar with what happened in the room before this Rose Garden presser: POTUS did not sit down or shake anyone's hand," Rogers wrote. "He told Dems that 'once your investigation is done — we can talk about these things.' And then he left the room before anyone else could speak."
The president reminded reporters again that the Robert Mueller report had concluded that he had not colluded with Russia during the 2016 presidential campaign.
"We've had investigations like nobody has seen before," Trump said. "They were out to get us. ... There is no collusion — no collusion with Russia."
Trump said Democrats were disappointed that the investigation that cost more than $35 million cleared him of the accusations.
He called the 2 1/2 years of investigation "a takedown attempt of the president of the United States."
"Actually, the crime was committed on the other side," he said.
What was the Democrats' response?
Pelosi and Schumer quickly responded to Trump's impromptu news conference with their own news conference.
She told reporters that Democrats wanted to work with Trump on infrastructure.
"In any event, I pray for the president of the United States and I pray for the United States of America," she said.