President Trump on Thursday lashed out after House Speaker Nancy Pelosi announced a bipartisan committee overseeing his administration's handling of the coronavirus pandemic. He said it was another partisan "witch hunt" against him — even as, in the same address, he called for avoiding partisanship during the crisis.
"This is not the time for politics. Endless partisan investigations — here we go again — have already done extraordinary damage to our country in recent years," Mr. Trump said during the White House's daily coronavirus press briefing.
"You see what happens, it's witch hunt after witch hunt after witch hunt," he said, returning to the phrase he frequently directed at theand . "And in the end, it's people doing the witch hunt who are losing, and they've been losing by a lot. And it's not any time for witch hunts."
Pelosi said Thursday that she will create the bipartisan committee, chaired by House Majority Whip Jim Clyburn, which will have subpoena power. It will examine issues of accountability and transparency relating to the federal government's pandemic response, including its handling of the $2 trillion relief passage passed by Congress last week.
Pelosi told reporters Thursday that the panel "is not an investigation of the administration," but will instead look into abuse and exploitation of resources during an unprecedented crisis.
"Where there's money, there is also frequently mischief," she said.
The panel has not officially launched, and it's not clear which other House members will be on it.
The relief package already has some oversight measures for the coronavirus response. These include a new inspector general for relief funds, and an accountability committee with current inspector generals overseeing the federal government. It also stipulates public disclosure of relief funds going to any of Mr. Trump's businesses.
House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy said he thought Pelosi's committee would be "redundant" because of the measures already passed.
Buthas given early indications that he wants to curb some of these rules. He has suggested limiting the powers of the new inspector general, and the role could go unfilled for months, since it requires a nomination by the White House and confirmation by the Senate — which is out of session due to the virus.