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Infrastructure talks derailed by latest fracas between Trump, Democrats

Katherine Tully-McManus, CQ-Roll Call on

Published in News & Features

WASHINGTON -- A White House meeting between President Donald Trump and top congressional Democrats devolved Wednesday as the president pledged to not work with Democrats on infrastructure, lowering drug prices or any other priorities until they end investigations into his administration and campaign.

Trump left the meeting with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., and Senate Minority Leader Charles E. Schumer, D-N.Y., after just a few minutes, a move that the two Democrats said was staged ahead of time.

When the meeting was set to begin, the president was already loaded with reaction to Pelosi's comments following a closed-door Democratic Caucus meeting earlier in the morning called to discuss congressional oversight and potential impeachment proceedings against the president.

"We believe that the president of the United States is engaged in a cover-up," Pelosi said.

"I don't do cover-ups," Trump responded at the Rose Garden news conference.

He insisted, as he has since Democrats won the House majority in November, that they could not investigate and legislate at the same time. "We're going to go down one track at a time," he said.

 

After the meeting, Schumer said that Democrats want to work on anything they can with the president, including bipartisan talks on issues including budget caps and disaster aid.

"We want to work with the president on anything we can, provided he's willing to work with us. And so far it doesn't look like it," Schumer said.

The Democrats and Trump are both claiming that they are more interested and more invested in an infrastructure plan than the other. Lawmakers in Congress from both parties have signaled they want an infrastructure package completed this year as industry groups warn that the nation's roads, bridges, ports, water systems and other public works are in decrepit condition and in desperate need of repair and upgrades.

"I walked into the room and I told Senator Schumer and Speaker Pelosi, 'I want to do infrastructure. I want to do it more than you want to do it. I'd be really good at that. That's what I do. But you know what? You can't do it under these circumstances. So get these phony investigations over with,'" Trump said.

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