President Donald Trump told the New York Post Thursday that he’s considering declassifying “damaging” documents on his Democratic opponents if they persist in badgering the White House with Congressional investigations.
Speaking to the Post exclusively in an Oval Office interview, Trump suggested that as president, he has access to enough “damaging” information about Democratic leaders that a barrage of investigations — like the one Democrats already have planned — could be just as dangerous for his political opponents as they are for him.
“If they go down the presidential harassment track, if they want go and harass the president and the administration, I think that would be the best thing that would happen to me. I’m a counter-puncher and I will hit them so hard they’d never been hit like that,” Trump said.
“I think that would help my campaign,” Trump added. “If they want to play tough, I will do it. They will see how devastating those pages are.”
The “pages” apparently include a slate of FISA secret wiretapping warrants, and “other documents” from Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation into whether the Trump campaign colluded with Russian officials to affect the outcome of the 2016 presidential election, though Trump wouldn’t go into specifics as to which Democrats were implicated.
Trump did promise that the “documents” he’d release would show a collaborative effort on the part of government officials and the Clinton campaign to keep him out of office — a conspiracy he’s been promoting recently as the Mueller investigation drags into its second year.
The FISA warrants and “other documents” have been referenced before, mostly by pro-Trump Republicans anxious to prove that the Mueller investigation — and previous efforts by the Obama administration Justice Department to investigate Trump’s presidential campaign — was part of a concerted intimidation effort aimed at undercutting and destabilizing Trump’s transition into the White House.
But if Trump has an ace up his sleeve, he plans on using it only when the time is right, as he told the Post.
“It’s much more powerful if I do it then,” Trump said, “because if we had done it already, it would already be yesterday’s news.”
Democrats have already committed to “dozens” of potential investigations of the Trump White House, beginning when they retake the House of Representatives in January. Democratic leaders like Rep. Jerry Nadler (D-NY) and Rep. Adam Schiff (D-CA) have already said they will begin issuing subpoenas and requesting documents the moment power shifts from the GOP.
Nadler plans on going after Trump’s tax returns, which Trump has thus far refused to release, citing an ongoing audit of his personal and business tax records by the IRS. Nadler wants to know whether the president has illegally enriched himself in the course of his presidency by welcoming foreign dignitaries as guests of the president’s chain of luxury hotels.
Schiff plans on re-opening a House investigation into whether the White House inappropriately colluded with Russia. And soon-to-be Speaker of the House Rep. Nancy Pelosi (D-CA), says she’ll authorize a series of Freedom of Information Act requests aimed at finding out whether the FBI was thorough in its background investigation of now-Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh, whose appointment was almost derailed when he was accused of sexually assaulting Dr. Christine Blasey Ford when the pair were teenagers in suburban Washington, D.C.