The Justice Department told Nadler on Wednesday that it is terminating all negotiations with the panel over access to the full and unredacted Mueller report.
Trump’s advisers have been pushing him to defy congressional investigations in hopes of luring Democrats into escalating a fight that they say will turn voters against the party in the 2020 elections. They also see an upside from House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s warning on Tuesday that the administration’s defiance of subpoenas could lead to impeachment proceedings, arguing they would distract attention from candidates vying to replace Trump.
Separately, the administration on Tuesday told former White House Counsel Don McGahn not to comply with a subpoena from House Democrats to turn over documents. Over the weekend, Trump tweeted that Mueller shouldn’t testify to Congress, and on Monday, Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin refused a request to turn over Trump’s tax returns.
White House advisers say cooperating with Democrats provides little advantage as many voters have already made up their mind about Trump’s character. Records from Trump’s business or time as president could reveal damaging information for Democrats to use against him.
But the effort to turn Trump’s potential liabilities into a 2020 election advantage carries risks. The president’s refusal to turn over documents could lead voters to conclude he has something to hide and focus attention on the Mueller investigation, which painted an unflattering picture of Trump even if it didn’t result in a criminal indictment. That could turn off moderate and independent voters in key swing states like Pennsylvania.