Trump blames impeachment probe for stock losses as recession fears rise

President TrumpDonald John TrumpFlorida GOP lawmaker says he's 'thinking' about impeachment Democrats introduce 'THUG Act' to block funding for G-7 at Trump resort Kurdish group PKK pens open letter rebuking Trump's comparison to ISIS MORE on Wednesday accused Democrats of derailing the economy with their impeachment inquiry as the stock market took heavy losses driven by rising recession fears.

“All of this impeachment nonsense, which is going nowhere, is driving the Stock Market, and your 401K’s, down,” Trump tweeted. 

“But that is exactly what the Democrats want to do. They are willing to hurt the Country, with only the 2020 Election in mind!”

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Trump’s tweet came amid a steep Wednesday morning sell-off in U.S. stocks, with all three major indexes sinking more than 2 percent shortly before 1 p.m.

The Dow Jones industrial average lost as many as 580 points, a 2.2-percent decline that sunk the index below the 26,000-mark first reached in January 2018, before closing with a loss of 494 points.

The S&P 500 index and the Nasdaq composite closed 1.8 percent and 1.6 percent lower, respectively.

Trump has insisted that efforts to impeach him could derail the U.S. economy and crash financial markets, accusing Democrats of damaging the country to win the 2020 election.

The president has also sought to quash rising fears of a recession, driven in part by growing strain from his trade war with China.

But Wednesday’s stock losses may have been driven by data showing a severe slump in U.S. manufacturing output and several recent downgrades in global growth projections.

The Institute for Supply Management’s (ISM) manufacturing index, a closely watched gauge of U.S. industrial health, dropped 1.3 percent in September to 47.8 percent, according to data released by the group Tuesday. An index level below 50 percent indicates a retraction in the manufacturing sector.

While Trump blamed the Federal Reserve on Tuesday for the manufacturing slump, firms surveyed by ISM said fallout of the president’s trade battles was the primary driver of their losses.

“Global trade remains the most significant issue, as demonstrated by the contraction in new export orders that began in July 2019,” said Timothy R. Fiore, who is chairman of the ISM survey committee. 

“Overall, sentiment this month remains cautious regarding near-term growth,” he said.

Trump's stock market tweet was but one in a barrage of Twitter attacks on Democrats fired off Wednesday morning. The tweet came as House Speaker Nancy PelosiNancy PelosiCummings to lie in state at the Capitol House Republicans 'demand the release of the rules' on impeachment Overnight Health Care — Presented by National Taxpayers Union —Dem wants more changes to Pelosi drug pricing bill | Ebola outbreak wanes, but funding lags | Johnson & Johnson recalls batch of baby powder after asbestos traces found MORE (D-Calif.) briefed Capitol Hill reporters amid the House's escalating impeachment inquiry.

While Pelosi defended the House's efforts to investigate Trump and his dealings with Ukraine, she also asserted that Democrats stood ready to work with the president on lowering drug costs and a new North American trade deal.

Pelosi said that Democrats and the White House had made progress toward amendments to the new trade pact, known as the U.S., Mexico and Canada Agreement (USMCA), and were eager to strike a deal.

But Trump dismissed Pelosi's overture in real-time, tweeting that the speaker is "incapable" of working on legislation.

"Nancy Pelosi just said that she is interested in lowering prescription drug prices & working on the desperately needed USMCA," Trump tweeted.

"She is incapable of working on either. It is just camouflage for trying to win an election through impeachment. The Do Nothing Democrats are stuck in mud!"

Updated at 4:23 p.m.