US President Donald Trump denies opposition charges of a "cover-up" related to the Russia election meddling probe, urging Democrats to end what he called "phony investigations."

US President Donald Trump speaks in the Rose Garden of the White House on May 22, 2019, in Washington, DC.
US President Donald Trump speaks in the Rose Garden of the White House on May 22, 2019, in Washington, DC. (AFP)

President Donald Trump fired back at House Speaker Nancy Pelosi's accusation on Wednesday that he is engaged in a cover-up, saying at a hastily arranged White House appearance, ''I don't do cover-ups.''

Trump also said he would not work with Democrats on a major infrastructure proposal because of ''phony'' investigations they are pursuing in Congress. 

The Republican president added that he was upset that Democratic lawmakers discussed the possibility of impeaching him before a White House meeting on infrastructure.

The president repeated his rhetoric about Special Counsel Robert Mueller's Russia probe. 

''No collusion, no obstruction, no nothing,'' Trump said. ''This whole thing was a take-down attempt at the president of the United States.'' 

As Democrats in Congress debated impeaching Trump, Pelosi said on Wednesday, about an hour before a White House meeting with him, that Trump is engaged in a ''cover-up.''

Trump ignoring subpoenas

The president is stonewalling multiple congressional investigations by ignoring subpoenas, refusing to allow current and former advisers to testify, and not handing over documents, steps that have aggravated a confrontation with Congress.

''No one is above the law, including the president of the United States. And we believe that the president of the United States is engaged in a cover-up,'' Pelosi told reporters after a morning meeting of House of Representatives Democrats.

She and other congressional leaders met briefly with Trump just before his appearance before reporters to talk about a potential bipartisan infrastructure development plan, although a firm proposal for funding any such effort has yet to emerge. The meeting lasted only a few minutes.

Power struggle

Trump and Democrats who control the House are engaged in a high-stakes power struggle over their ability to investigate him, with the president increasingly asserting that his advisers need not respond to lawmakers' inquiries.

Their probes range from whether Trump obstructed justice during Special Counsel Robert Mueller's inquiry into Russian meddling in Trump's favour in the 2016 US presidential election to his personal finances and businesses. 

As the confrontation has escalated, Pelosi and other senior House leaders have been trying to tamp down demands from more junior Democratic lawmakers to kick off impeachment proceedings, urging them to give court enforcement actions time to progress.

Source: Reuters