Trump plots post-Mueller payback

President TrumpDonald John TrumpLawmakers prep ahead of impeachment hearing Democrats gear up for high-stakes Judiciary hearing Warren says she made almost M from legal work over past three decades MORE and his allies on Monday sought to exact political revenge on congressional Democrats and the news media, seizing momentum generated by the end of special counsel Robert MuellerRobert (Bob) Swan MuellerTrump says he'll release financial records before election, knocks Dems' efforts House impeachment hearings: The witch hunt continues Speier says impeachment inquiry shows 'very strong case of bribery' by Trump MORE’s Russia investigation.

The clear signal from Team Trump is that they think they can go on offense by using Mueller’s findings to jam Democrats and juice Trump’s base in the lead-up to the 2020 presidential race.

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A summary of the special counsel’s conclusions released Sunday by Attorney General William BarrWilliam Pelham BarrFive things to watch in Russia probe review Trump, GOP shift focus from alleged surveillance abuse to Durham Russia probe Trump: Giuliani to deliver report on Ukraine trip to Congress, Barr MORE said that Mueller had not found enough evidence to prove a conspiracy between Trump’s campaign and Moscow. The special counsel did not make a determination on if the president had obstructed justice.

“There are a lot of people out there that have done some very, very evil things, very bad things — I would say treasonous things against our country,” Trump, without naming names, said in remarks from the Oval Office on Monday. “Those people will certainly be looked at. I’ve been looking at them for a long time.”

Trump’s advisers and outside allies did name names, blasting out talking points to supporters and flooding the airwaves to attack Democrats who long pledged that Mueller would deliver a major blow to the president.

House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam SchiffAdam Bennett SchiffLawmakers prep ahead of impeachment hearing Top Republican: Democrats' weekend document dump shows impeachment inquiry is a 'farce' Nunes: 'Sickening' that Schiff obtained his phone records MORE (D-Calif.) was a popular target, with House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthyKevin Owen McCarthyDemocrat who opposed Trump, Clinton impeachment inquiries faces big test CNN Pelosi town hall finishes third in cable news ratings race, draws 1.6M Economy adds 266K jobs in November, blowing past expectations MORE (R-Calif.) and White House counselor Kellyanne ConwayKellyanne Elizabeth ConwayOvernight Health Care: House to vote next week on drug prices bill | Conway says Trump trying to find 'balance' on youth vaping | US spent trillion on hospitals in 2018 White House adopts confident tone after Pelosi signals go on impeachment Conway: Trump trying to find 'balance' on youth vaping issue MORE among those saying he should step down over his accusations against Trump.

“#fullofSchiff has been flagrantly lying to the American people & slandering POTUS & me for years for airtime. Should he not face any repercussions for the lies?” Trump’s eldest son, Donald Trump Jr.Donald (Don) John TrumpWhite House calls Democratic witness's mentioning of president's youngest son 'classless' Lawmakers to watch during Wednesday's impeachment hearing Top Democrats knock Trump on World AIDS Day MORE, tweeted on Monday 

Speaker Nancy PelosiNancy PelosiDemocrats gear up for high-stakes Judiciary hearing White House, Democrats strike tentative deal to create Space Force in exchange for federal parental leave benefits: report Trump: Fox News 'panders' to Democrats by having on liberal guests MORE’s (D-Calif.) office defended Schiff’s performance and said he would keep his chairmanship.

The Trump effort kicked into high gear on Monday morning, when White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders did a rare round of interviews with network morning talk shows to blast Democrats and the media over their comments about collusion.

“Democrats and the media perpetuated that lie day in and day out and breathlessly covered every second of negative attention that they thought would be the one moment that would bring this president down,” she said on CNN. “They were wrong in 2016 when he beat them and they’ve been wrong every day since about this president.”

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A sheet of talking points the White House circulated to Trump surrogates, which was obtained by The Hill, knocked Democrats for “criticizing the special counsel’s findings” and accused them of plotting “their own politically-motivated investigations of the president.”

“Congressional Democrats have an opportunity to leave these pointless investigations in the past and join with the President to achieve what’s best for the American people,” the sheet reads.

The Trump campaign sent a memo to television networks urging them not to book Democratic guests they say made “outlandish, false claims” about collusion, including House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerrold NadlerJerrold (Jerry) Lewis NadlerLawmakers prep ahead of impeachment hearing Trump: Fox News 'panders' to Democrats by having on liberal guests Democrats express confidence in case as impeachment speeds forward MORE (N.Y.), Sen. Richard Blumenthal (Conn.) and Democratic National Committee Chairman Tom PerezThomas Edward PerezClinton’s top five vice presidential picks Government social programs: Triumph of hope over evidence Labor’s 'wasteful spending and mismanagement” at Workers’ Comp MORE. The memo was first obtained by Axios.

The Republican National Committee also emailed reporters to criticize specific articles published by CNN, BuzzFeed, The Washington Post and Rolling Stone about the investigation.

The notion that Trump prevailed over powerful foes in government and media played into his view of himself as a victim of the so-called deep state, something allies believe will energize his core supporters.

“It’s rocket fuel for the base,” said a former White House official. “I think a lot of the people who were feeling pretty down about the immigration stuff are being energized for the fight. This was a weight a lot of people were carrying with them.”

Trump is likely to take that message on the road this week at a rally in Grand Rapids, Mich., where he will appear Thursday for his first campaign-trail stop since the Mueller investigation’s end. Trump won Michigan by roughly 10,000 votes in 2016, and he is expected to mount a concerted effort to win it and other Rust Belt states again in 2020.

Though polls show opinions about the Mueller probe largely fall along party lines, the president’s allies believe they can win over independents and moderates if they can convince them Democrats are unfairly pursuing Trump.

“It puts the Democrats in a bad position, not with their partisans but with the people in the middle of the road,” said the former White House official.

Top Democrats said they have no plans to let up in their quest for the full Mueller report and the underlying evidence in the probe, warning Trump and Republicans they are at risk of prematurely declaring victory.

Mueller did not conclude one way or the other if Trump obstructed justice, deferring the decision to Barr, who said he and Deputy Attorney General Rod RosensteinRod RosensteinRosenstein, Sessions discussed firing Comey in late 2016 or early 2017: FBI notes Justice Dept releases another round of summaries from Mueller probe Judge rules former WH counsel McGahn must testify under subpoena MORE decided not to pursue charges.

Democrats are also conducting separate investigations into allegations of misconduct in Trump’s administration, inaugural committee, campaign and businesses, and federal prosecutors continue to probe some of those organizations as well.

“Democrats aren’t going to be intimidated by the White House or congressional Republicans, we’re not going to be distracted from securing the release of the full Mueller report and the underlying evidence,” Pelosi spokeswoman Ashley Etienne said in a statement. “The days of Congress ignoring the mountain of legal and ethical misconduct by this president and administration are over.”

Republicans in Congress sought to push back against Democrats’ investigations with their own counterinvestigations into the origins of the Mueller probe, an idea Trump floated on Sunday.  

Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Lindsey GrahamLindsey Olin GrahamGraham expects Horowitz investigation to show evidence was manipulated, withheld Trump's exceptionalism: No president has so disrespected our exceptional institutions Trump, GOP shift focus from alleged surveillance abuse to Durham Russia probe MORE (R-S.C.), who spent the weekend with the president in South Florida, announced he intends to launch new probes of the Justice Department’s and the FBI’s actions in the 2016 investigations into Trump and into former Secretary of State Hillary ClintonHillary Diane Rodham ClintonWill the Horowitz report split the baby? Gabbard commemorates John Lennon's passing by singing 'Imagine' Bannon: Clinton waiting to enter 2020 race and 'save the Democratic Party from Michael Bloomberg' MORE use of a private email server.

Graham told reporters he will ask Barr to testify and reiterated his call for a new special counsel probe of possible abuse of surveillance authorities in what became the Mueller investigation, saying officials must “unpack the other side of the story.”

“I believe that Donald Trump got scrutiny like nobody else in the history of the presidency since Nixon, probably,” Graham said. “And he, in my view, came out of this thing stronger. To those who were abusive of the process in 2016 on the other side, you haven’t had much scrutiny, but that’s coming.”