WASHINGTON — President Donald Trump repeatedly called House Speaker Nancy Pelosi "crazy," said former FBI Director James Comey and the late Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., were guilty of treason, and declined to commit to raising the nation's debt ceiling during a sprawling interaction with reporters at the White House Thursday.
Trump clashed with Pelosi and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., Wednesday, cutting short a planned meeting on infrastructure spending because he is frustrated with congressional efforts to investigate his administration. Just after that confrontation, he told the media he would not work with Democrats on legislation until they halt their inquiries.
On Thursday, he took issue with Pelosi's characterization of his abrupt departure from the room, saying he kept his cool.
"I was so calm," he said. "Cryin' Chuck, Crazy Nancy — I tell you what, I've been watching her. I have been watching her for a long period of time. She is not the same person. She has lost it."
Pelosi quickly fired back.
"When the 'extremely stable genius' starts acting more presidential, I'll be happy to work with him on infrastructure, trade and other issues," she wrote on Twitter.
Asked whether his self-imposed ban on legislative action extends to budget matters, including an increase in the statutory debt limit, Trump hedged.
"We'll see what happens," Trump said, calling himself a "very capable" person. "Let them get this angst out of their belt."
The House is pursuing multiple open investigations involving the administration, including follow-ups to special counsel Robert Mueller's Russia probe. Trump has denied subpoena requests for documents and testimony from congressional committees, setting up court battles with House Democrats.
He reiterated Thursday that he believes he is the victim of a long-running effort to stop him from winning in 2016, delegitimize his presidency and remove him from office either through impeachment or by Democrats damaging him enough with investigations that he can't be re-elected.
He has charged that some of his adversaries are guilty of treason, and he was asked Thursday to provide the names of people who should be held accountable for a crime punishable by death.
Trump answered with a list of names: Comey, McCain, former FBI agent Peter Strzok and former Justice Department official Lisa Page.
Strzok and Page exchanged text messages during the 2016 campaign — when the FBI was investigating his operation — that disparaged him, and attempted to prevent him from winning.
Now, Trump says, Democrats in Congress are continuing their efforts.
"Without the 'treason' word — they don't feel they can win so they're trying to do the thousand stabs," he said.
Congressional Democrats say that Trump has systematically abused the power of his office by summarily rejecting valid requests for information related to their legislative duties and a possible impeachment inquiry.