Life un­der di­vided Congress dis­cussed

The Morning Journal (Lorain, OH) - - FRONT PAGE - By Cather­ine Lucey and Matthew Daly

WASH­ING­TON >> Sud­denly fac­ing life un­der di­vided gov­ern­ment, Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump and con­gres­sional lead­ers talked bi­par­ti­san­ship Wed­nes­day but then bluntly pre­viewed the fault lines to come. Trump threat­ened to go af­ter House Democrats who try to in­ves­ti­gate him, while Rep. Nancy Pelosi said her party would be “a check and bal­ance” against the White House.

The day af­ter midterm elec­tions re­set Wash­ing­ton, Trump took a vic­tory lap at a rau­cous news con­fer­ence, cel­e­brat­ing Repub­li­can Se­nate wins but dis­tanc­ing him­self from the GOP’s loss of the House. He said he was in­ter­ested in work­ing with House Democrats but was ready to re­spond if he felt he was be­ing ill-treated.

As long as Repub­li­cans have con­trolled both houses of Congress, Democrats have been ham­pered in pur­su­ing any sig­nif­i­cant probes of Trump and his ad­min­is­tra­tion, and he made it clear he ex­pects the Se­nate to fol­low that course.

“They can play that game,” he said of pos­si­ble House Demo­cratic in­ves­ti­ga­tions, “but we can play it bet­ter, be­cause we have a thing called the United States Se­nate.”

On Capi­tol Hill, Repub­li­can Se­nate leader Mitch McCon­nell said Democrats must de­cide how much “ha­rass­ment” they want to pur­sue against Trump, while sug­gest­ing there could be lim­ited op­por­tu­ni­ties to work across the aisle. And Pelosi, who is ex­pected to run for a sec­ond stint as speaker when Democrats take the House ma­jor­ity in Jan­uary, said the party has “a re­spon­si­bil­ity to seek com­mon ground where we can.” But she added, “Where we can­not, we must stand our ground.”

Af­ter midterm elec­tions that served as a ref­er­en­dum on Trump’s di­vi­sive pres­i­dency, Congress and the White House reck­oned Wed­nes­day with ex­pected Repub­li­can gains in the Se­nate and a Demo­cratic flip of the House. The early po­si­tion­ing pro­vided the first glimpse of how all par­ties will bal­ance calls for bi­par­ti­san­ship with an ap­petite for anger go­ing into the next two years.

By turns com­bat­ive and con­cil­ia­tory, Trump said Democrats and Repub­li­cans should set aside par­ti­san­ship to work to­gether. On leg­isla­tive prospects, Trump said he could po­ten­tially work with Democrats on is­sues such as taxes, in­fra­struc­ture and health care, say­ing it “re­ally could be a beau­ti­ful, bi­par­ti­san type of sit­u­a­tion.”

And Pelosi, dur­ing a news con­fer­ence that was de­layed be­cause of Trump’s lengthy re­marks, said she had worked pro­duc­tively with Pres­i­dent Ge­orge W. Bush when she was speaker a decade ago on taxes and other is­sues, and she wel­comed the chance to do so again with Trump.

“We’d like to work to­gether so our leg­is­la­tion will be bi­par­ti­san,” she said.

Still, Pelosi said Democrats weren’t elected to be “a rub­ber stamp” for Trump.

Some House Democrats have threat­ened to use the sub­poena power they will gain in Jan­uary to in­ves­ti­gate Trump and ad­min­is­tra­tion ac­tions. But, he warned, he will re­spond in kind and gov­ern­ment will suf­fer.

Plus, he said, Democrats have “noth­ing, zero,” on him. Of the spe­cial coun­sel’s Rus­sia in­ves­ti­ga­tion that has shad­owed his ad­min­is­tra­tion for more than 18 months, Trump said, “I could end it right now” but “I let it go on.”

On the po­ten­tial for House in­ves­ti­ga­tions, Pelosi said Democrats will have a “re­spon­si­bil­ity for over­sight” when they take charge in Jan­uary and she will leave fi­nal de­ci­sions to com­mit­tees. She wouldn’t an­swer a ques­tion about whether Democrats will seek Trump’s tax fil­ings, but said com­mit­tee re­quests for doc­u­ments and hear­ings won’t be “scat­ter­shot.”


Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump points to CNN’s Jim Acosta dur­ing a news con­fer­ence in the East Room of the White House Wed­nes­day in Wash­ing­ton.

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