President Trump privately voiced frustration on Russia-related matters in phone calls with two GOP senators.
Politico reported Wednesday that Trump railed against a measure imposing fresh sanctions on Russia in a call with Sen. Bob CorkerRobert (Bob) Phillips CorkerOPINION: Congress should censure Trump for his unfit conduct How to fix Fannie and Freddie to give Americans affordable housing No. 2 Senate Republican backs McConnell in Trump fight MORE (R-Tenn.), the chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, last month.
Trump said that bill would violate the Constitution and hurt his authority as president, according to Politico. Corker reportedly told the president that the sanctions would, in fact, pass through the House and Senate with bipartisan support.
A spokesperson for Corker confirmed a relevant call but not the details of what was discussed.
“In late July after the legislation had already passed the Senate, Senator Corker and President Trump had a productive conversation about the congressional review portion of the Russia sanctions bill,” the spokesperson told The Hill.
Trump unenthusiastically signed the sanctions into law earlier this month.
In a separate call with Sen. Thom TillisThom R. TillisSenators fight proposed tariffs on solar panels GOP senators rally to McConnell’s defense amid Trump attacks The Memo: Signs of trouble emerge in Trump’s base MORE (R-N.C.) on Aug. 7, Trump brought up a bill that the North Carolina Republican is working on with Sen. Chris CoonsChris CoonsWill Congress preserve monopoly power for healthcare lobbyists? Savings through success in foreign assistance Sunday shows preview: Senators tout bill to protect Mueller MORE (D-Del.) that would bar the president from directly firing Robert Mueller, the special counsel investigating possible collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia.
Trump reportedly voiced dissatisfaction with that measure, according to Politico.
The White House declined to comment on the phone calls, saying in a statement to Politico: “We do not comment on private conversations the President has with members of Congress. We are committed to working together on tax relief, border security, strengthening the military, and other important issues.”
The calls are only the latest sign of rising tensions between Trump and congressional Republicans ahead of a crucial September. Lawmakers must pass a spending bill to avoid a government shutdown and raise the nation’s debt limit.
But the summer has seen the Trump White House hit by a series of controversies and the president publicly feud with Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnellMitch McConnellTrump’s isolation grows Ellison: Trump has ‘level of sympathy’ for neo-Nazis, white supremacists Trump touts endorsement of second-place finisher in Alabama primary MORE (R-Ky.).
In an Aug. 9 call with McConnell, Trump is said to have also accused the Kentucky Republican of failing to protect him from the ongoing Russia probes.
On Wednesday, the White House said McConnell and Trump “remain united” in pursuing the GOP’s agenda.
Trump has publicly shared frustration with the Russia investigations, and repeatedly denied any wrongdoing. He has claimed that the probes are politically motivated, calling them a “witch hunt.”
– Jordain Carney contributed to this report which was updated at 7:22 p.m.