Top House Democrat rips 'studio gangster' Trump

House Democratic Caucus Chairman Hakeem JeffriesHakeem Sekou JeffriesDems eye repeal of Justice rule barring presidential indictments Dems eye repeal of Justice rule barring presidential indictments Dem committees win new powers to investigate Trump MORE (D-N.Y.) on Sunday blasted President TrumpDonald John TrumpTrump defends Stephanopolous interview Trump defends Stephanopolous interview Buttigieg on offers of foreign intel: 'Just call the FBI' MORE as a “studio gangster” — suggesting he talks tough but doesn't back it up — over his recent behavior.

In an interview on NBC's “Meet the Press,” Jeffries said Trump is acting like a “tough guy” and pointed to his decision last week to walk out of an infrastructure meeting with Speaker Nancy PelosiNancy PelosiElection security bills face GOP buzzsaw Election security bills face GOP buzzsaw Dems eye repeal of Justice rule barring presidential indictments MORE (D-Calif.) after she said she believed the president was engaging in a “cover-up.”

“You know, the president didn't just walk out on a meeting with Nancy Pelosi and infrastructure,” Jeffries said. “He walked out on the American people.”

ADVERTISEMENT

“Donald Trump is functionally a studio gangster. He pretends to be a tough guy, but he really is just playing that role on TV,” Jeffries added. “Hopefully, he will have gotten this temper tantrum out of his system.”

Trump’s move furthered an already brewing feud with Pelosi over Democrats’ investigations of his finances and conduct in office. After walking out of the meeting, he threatened that he wouldn’t work with Democrats on their legislative priorities unless they shut down their probes. The heated back-and-forth with Pelosi has also led to increased calls for impeachment from within the House.

Jeffries said Sunday that while he “certainly” believes Trump committed obstruction of justice in special counsel Robert MuellerRobert (Bob) Swan MuellerKamala Harris says her Justice Dept would have 'no choice' but to prosecute Trump for obstruction Kamala Harris says her Justice Dept would have 'no choice' but to prosecute Trump for obstruction Dem committees win new powers to investigate Trump MORE’s investigation, he thinks Democrats need to focus primarily on their legislative agenda before jumping to start impeachment hearings.

“Democrats can sing and dance at the same time just like Beyoncé,” he said, vowing that Democrats would not “overinvestigate” or “overpoliticize” in their checks on Trump.

“We don't work for Donald Trump. We work for the American people,” he said. “We have a constitutional responsibility to serve as a check and balance on a potentially out of control executive branch. But we will not overreach. We will not overinvestigate, we will not overpoliticize that responsibility. We will proceed as Speaker Pelosi has eloquently laid out, methodically yet aggressively to get to the truth.”