Trump: Pelosi’s subpoena ‘arrow’ will meet legal shield
Trump defends ad highlighting crime by illegal immigrants
President Trump said Thursday that House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi’s threat to weaponize committee subpoena power if Democrats win Congress is illegal and grounds for the administration to fight any subpoena all the way to the Supreme Court.
“Pelosi says she’s going to mechanize the speakership and use it as a great negotiation with the president. That’s an illegal statement,” Mr. Trump said in an exclusive interview with The Washington Times.
The president remained optimistic about Republicans retaining their House majority, but he fumed about Mrs. Pelosi’s subpoena threat if Democrats prevail in the midterm elections.
He said the threat begged a lengthy court battle.
“That alone takes two years to get it to the Supreme Court — that statement — before you do anything,” he said, becoming animated with indignation. “You heard her the other night.”
Mrs. Pelosi made the remark last week at CNN’s campaign forum.
“Subpoena power is interesting, to use it or not to use it,” Mrs. Pelosi said in an interview with Dana Bash. “It’s a great arrow to have in your quiver in terms of negotiating on other subjects.”
Mrs. Pelosi’s office did not immediately respond when The Times relayed the president’s message.
Mr. Trump said he wasn’t worried about getting impeached by a Democrat-run House, although many on the left clamor for the move.
“They can play that game, but I can play that game also,” said Mr. Trump, adding that he hoped Democrats would rather get things done for the country.
In an interview in the Oval Office, Mr. Trump also told The Times:
State Department spokeswoman Heather Nauert is “under strong consideration” to replace Nikki Haley as ambassador to the United Nations:
“She’s a talented person, with us a long time.”
He would authorize U.S. troops “in a heartbeat” to use force on the southern border to stop illegal immigrants:
“We are going to control the border. If we can do it in a nice way, that would be preferable, but regardless we are going to control the border.”
President Trump rejected Democrats’ accusations Thursday that his latest campaign ad on illegal immigration is similar to the racially tinged Willie Horton ad of a past presidential campaign, and said his team has more potential ads highlighting brutal crimes by immigrants.
“I don’t view it as the Willie Horton ad at all,” the president told The Washington Times in an exclusive interview. “I think it’s just an ad where somebody is a bad guy, came in illegally, twice, and we can’t do that.”
Democrats have attacked the ad as “desperation” from Mr. Trump in the days leading up to the crucial midterm elections. It shows a twice-deported Mexican immigrant laughing in court as he is sentenced in 2014 for killing two police officers, and it blames Democrats’ lax policies on immigration and border security for allowing dangerous immigrants to enter the country
He doesn’t expect to announce a trade deal with China at the Group of 20 summit this month, despite progress in talks:
“Eventually, we are going to make a very reasonable deal with China. I can tell you they want to make it.”
He said he could “totally shut off” Iran and cripple its economy with oil sanctions but is not ready to go that far:
“I don’t want to totally destroy their country. I’m not looking to double the price of oil.”
He said Oprah Winfrey’s endorsement of the Democratic candidate for governor illegally and prey upon U.S. citizens.
In the interview, Mr. Trump defended the ad posted on his Twitter feed featuring Luis Bracamontes, who lived in the U.S. illegally. The ad also compares his case to the caravans of migrants moving toward the U.S. border from Central America and blames Democrats for allowing open borders.
Democrats are livid about the ad, comparing it to the “Willie Horton” ad that Republicans ran against Democratic presidential nominee Michael Dukakis in 1988. CNN ran references to the Trump ad during the day, calling it racist.
The ad on behalf of Republican George H.W. Bush three decades ago cited the case of Horton, a black man who was on a release program from prison in Massachusetts when he committed a murder. Mr. Dukakis had been governor at the time.
Mr. Trump agreed that his new ad is tough, “but correct.”
“It’s well-received in some ways,” he said. “Some people think it’s an appropriate ad; of Georgia won’t make a difference in the race:
“Oprah can go, and Obama can go. I don’t think it’s going to make a difference.”
The president spoke to The Times for nearly 30 minutes, seated at the Resolute Desk with White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders and Communications Director Bill Shine.
He spoke at length about his final campaign blitz for Republicans as he fights the historical trend of the party in power losing seats in the midterms.
Mr. Trump said endorsements usually some people don’t like it. They [Democrats] let him in.”
The president noted that the ad also showed a migrant in one of the caravans heading to the U.S. telling a reporter he’s hoping for a pardon for murder.
“A lot of people like that in the caravan,” Mr. Trump said. “Perhaps he won’t get it.”
Mr. Trump said his campaign team has numerous similar videotapes of immigrants living in the U.S. illegally who have committed major crimes.
“We have a tremendous number of bad tapes. This is just one of them,” he said.
Asked if there will be more such ads, Mr. Trump replied, “Maybe.”
“It adds to the [campaign] argument,” he said. “There shouldn’t even be an argument. You’ve got thousands of people pouring up. The only thing that’s my fault is I built a great economy. They’re coming up for the great economy. We want people to come in. We need workers for all these companies moving into our country.” don’t make a difference but that he repeatedly has moved the needle in key races by showing up and leading one of his massive rallies.
“My endorsements have meant a lot,” the president said.
The interview was held shortly before Mr. Trump departed the White House on a campaign trip to Missouri for Senate candidate Josh Hawley. It was the second of 11 rallies he is holding across the country in a weeklong sprint before Election Day.
The president said he believes his campaign appearances and endorsements are boosting many Republican candidates. He pointed to his rally in Houston last week for Sen. Ted Cruz, Texas Republican, who is in a tight race with Democratic Rep. Beto O’Rourke.
“Since that time, you haven’t seen one story on Ted Cruz,” the president said. “That was the hot story two weeks ago.”
The rallies, which attract tens of thousands of die-hard supporters, could make the difference for Republicans, he said.
The president noted that a Rasmussen Reports tracking poll Thursday showed his job approval rating up to 50 percent.
“Even for me, it’s pretty amazing,” Mr. Trump said.
House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, California Democrat, angered President Trump when she said, “Subpoena power is interesting, to use it or not to use it. It’s a great arrow to have in your quiver in terms of negotiating on other subjects.”