President Donald Trump took questions at the White House Wednesday about investigations into his campaign and administration, calling the attendant Russia conspiracy theories "the greatest hoax in history."
Specifically, Trump said it was "sad" that democrats had a meeting to discuss impeachment—"the ‘I’ word", as he put it—before a previously scheduled Wednesday meeting with Trump at the White House.
"All of a sudden, I hear last night that they're going to have a meeting right before this meeting to talk about the ‘I’ word. The ‘I’ word. Can you imagine?" he asked.
"I don't speak to Russians about campaigns. When I went to Wisconsin, Michigan, Pennsylvania, I don't say ‘Oh, let's call Russia,’" he said. "It's a hoax! The greatest hoax in history."
Robert Mueller’s special counsel investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election found no evidence of collusion but left open the possibility that Trump obstructed justice during the investigation, which Trump vehemently denies. Earlier in the press conference, Trump touted his transparency during Mueller's probe, where he didn't use executive privilege to shield documents.
"I don’t do cover-ups," he said.
He blamed Democratic leaders, including Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Shcumer, of not coming to the meeting to discuss infrastructure and other agenda items.
"Instead of walking in happily into a meeting, I walk in to look at people that have just said that I was doing a cover-up," Trump said.
Just before he finished his remarks Wednesday, Trump took another question about whether Congress is an equal branch of government and therefore has the right to oversight of the executive branch. He admitted they have equal legitimacy with the judicial and executive branches, but he said their current investigations are frivolous.
"I respect the courts, I respect Congress, I respect right here where we're standing [gesturing toward the White House]. But what they've done is abuse," he said, accusing Democrats of investigating the same thing for the fourth or fifth time instead of working with Republicans on policy solutions.
"Let them play their games. We're going to go down one track at a time. Let them finish up and we'll be all set," he said, bidding the audience goodbye.