War of words intensifies between Trump, Democratic leaders

WASHINGTON (AP) — The rift between President Donald Trump and congressional Democrats appeared to be widening Thursday after a dramatic blow-up at the White House at a meeting on infrastructure.

A day after Trump stalked out of the Cabinet room demanding an end to congressional investigations, the Republican president and Democratic leaders dug in, while plans to fix the nation's roads and bridges fell into the chasm.

Each side insisted it wants to agree on a plan, but a path forward was difficult to see. Shadowing the whole drama are the ongoing congressional investigations of whether Trump obstructed justice or committed other crimes and the demands by some Democrats to begin impeachment proceedings against him.

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Nancy Pelosi through the years
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Nancy Pelosi through the years
WASHINGTON, DC - MAY 8: File photo dated 08 May, 1996 shows US Congresswoman Nancy Pelosi, D-CA, speaking during a Capitol Hill press conference in Washington, DC. House Democratic leader Dick Gephardt (R, D-MO) is expected to announce 07 November, 2002 that he will not seek another term after the Republican opponents took both the House of Representatives and the Senate in mid-term elections 05 November. One of two Democrats vying to fill the spot is is Minority Whip Nancy Pelosi; the other is chairman of the Democratic caucus Martin Frost (D, TX). (Photo credit should read J. DAVID AKE/AFP/Getty Images)
WASHINGTON, DC - MAY 20: US President Bill Clinton signs the Ryan White Comprehensive AIDS Resources Emergency Act Amendments of 1996 20 May at the White House in Washington DC. Standing behind Clinton are (L-R) Jeanne White, mother of Ryan, White House Aide Patsy Fleming, Sen. Bill Frist (R-TN), Rep. Henry Waxman(D-CA), Rep. Nancy Pelosi(D-CA). (Photo credit should read CHUCK KENNEDY/AFP/Getty Images)
UNITED STATES - JUNE 25: HOUSE APPROPRIATIONS: Ranking member Nancy Pelosi ,D-Calif., during the House Appropriations,Foreign Operations subcommittee markup of FY 98 foreign operations appropriations. (Photo by Douglas Graham/Congressional Quarterly/Getty Images)
SLUG:NA/BAILOUT DATE:9/26/08 WASHINGTON, DC CREDIT: DOMINIC BRACCO II From left, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA), and House Financial Services Committee Chairman Barney Frank (D-MA) speak during a press conference about legislation for a bailout of the financial crisis on Capitol Hill on Sept. 26, 2008. (Photo by Dominic Bracco Ii/The Washington Post/Getty Images)
Washington, UNITED STATES: US President George W. Bush is applauded by Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (R) and Vice President Dick Cheney (L) as he delivers the State of the Union address to a joint session of Congress at the Capitol in Washington 23 January 2007. AFP PHOTO/Larry Downing/Pool (Photo credit should read LARRY DOWNING/AFP/Getty Images)
UNITED STATES - OCTOBER 10: WHIP RACE--Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., left, victor in the Democratic Whip race, talks to reporters and celebrates with supporting members after the Democratic caucus elected her to replace outgoing Whip David E. Bonior, D-Mich., who is running for governor of Michigan. (Photo by Scott J. Ferrell/Congressional Quarterly/Getty Images)
WASHINGTON, : Rep. Nancy Pelosi (D-CA,L) newly elected Democratic Minority Leader raises her hand with outgoing leader Dick Gephardt (D-MO) 14 November, 2002 on Capitol Hill in Washington, DC. Pelosi's election marks the first time in the history of the US Congress that a woman will lead her party. AFP PHOTO MIKE THEILER (Photo credit should read MIKE THEILER/AFP/Getty Images)
UNITED STATES - JULY 26: House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) speaks to the California delegate breakfast in Boston, Massachusetts on the first day of the Democratic National Convention, July 26, 2004. (Photo by Chris Kleponis/Bloomberg via Getty Images)
UNITED STATES - FEBRUARY 02: STATE OF THE UNION ADDRESS--House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., and 2004 presidential candidate Sen. John Kerry, D-Mass., talk before President George W. Bush's State of the Union Address to a joint session of Congress. (Photo by Scott J. Ferrell/Congressional Quarterly/Getty Images)
Congressman John Lewis, Congresswoman Maxine Waters, Harry Belafonte, Jessie Jackson and Congresswoman Nancy Pelosi (Photo by Moses Robinson/WireImage)
WASHINGTON - JUNE 04: U.S. Speaker of the House Rep. Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) addresses the 2008 American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) Policy Conference at the Washington Convention Center June 4, 2008 in Washington, DC. Democratic U.S. presidential hopefuls Sen. Hillary Clinton (D-NY) and Sen. Barack Obama (D-IL) are scheduled to speak to the same event. (Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images)
WASHINGTON - MAY 22: Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) holds her weekly news conference at the U.S. Capitol May 22, 2009 in Washington, DC. Pelosi turned the news conference into an opportunity to list what she and the Democratic House leadership considered their successes of the 111th Congress' first session. She took a handful of questions about her upcomming trip to China and her statements about the CIA. (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)
UNITED STATES - JULY 23: House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, a Democrat from California, right, and Nuri al-Maliki, Iraq's prime minister, shakes hands while addressing the media before a meeting at the Capitol in Washington, D.C., U.S., on Thursday, July 23, 2009. Maliki pledged to mend sectarian divisions and fight corruption as he urged the international community to continue providing support to his nation. (Photo by Brendan Hoffman/Bloomberg via Getty Images)
WASHINGTON, DC- Jan. 05: House Speaker John A. Boehner, R-Ohio, accepts the gavel from outgoing House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., as the 112th Congress convenes at the U.S. Capitol. (Photo by Scott J. Ferrell/Congressional Quarterly/Getty Images)
WASHINGTON, DC - JUNE 23: House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) works with staff before a vote on the House floor during a typically busy day on Capitol Hill in Washington DC, Thursday, June 23, 2011. (Photo by Melina Mara/ The Washington Post via Getty Images)
UNITED STATES â DECEMBER 1: House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., holds her weekly on camera news conference in the Capitol on Thursday, Dec. 1, 2011. (Photo By Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)
BEVERLY HILLS, CA - APRIL 22: Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa (L) and Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi attends the Public Counsel's 2012 William O. Douglas Dinner at The Beverly Hilton Hotel on April 22, 2012 in Beverly Hills, California. (Photo by Imeh Akpanudosen/Getty Images)
CHARLOTTE, NC - SEPTEMBER 05: House Minority Leader Sen. Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) waves as she takes the stage during day two of the Democratic National Convention at Time Warner Cable Arena on September 5, 2012 in Charlotte, North Carolina. The DNC that will run through September 7, will nominate U.S. President Barack Obama as the Democratic presidential candidate. (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)
WASHINGTON, DC - NOVEMBER 14: House Minority Leader Rep. Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) speaks to the media as female House Democrats gather around during a news conference at the U.S. Capitol, on November 14, 2012 in Washington, DC. Leader Pelosi said that she has decided continue to lead the House Democrats and does not wish to retire at this time. (Photo by Mark Wilson/Getty Images)
U.S. House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, a Democrat from California, bottom center, stands for a photograph with Democratic women of the House on the steps of the U.S. Capitol Building in Washington, D.C., U.S., on Wednesday, Jan. 7, 2015. 65 House Democratic women are part of the 114th Congress, the largest number of women in a party Caucus in the history of the Congress of the United States. Photographer: Andrew Harrer/Bloomberg via Getty Images
LOS ANGELES, CA - FEBRUARY 07: (L-R) Former Vice President of the United States Al Gore, Apple's SVP of Internet Software and Services, Eddy Cue, CEO of Apple Tim Cook, music producer Jimmy Iovine and Minority Leader of the United States House of Representatives, Nancy Pelosi attend the Pre-GRAMMY Gala and Salute to Industry Icons honoring Martin Bandier at The Beverly Hilton Hotel on February 7, 2015 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Lester Cohen/WireImage)
UNITED STATES - JULY 15: Vice President Joe Biden and House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., leave a meeting with House Democrats in the Capitol Visitor Center where Biden briefed members on the nuclear deal with Iran, July 15, 2015. (Photo By Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)
UNITED STATES - JULY 14: House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., introduces presidential candidate Hillary Rodham Clinton to the press for her on the Iran nuclear deal following her meeting with House Democrats during their weekly caucus meeting in the U.S. Capitol on Tuesday, July 14, 2015. (Photo By Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)
WASHINGTON, DC - Democratic House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi works with staff in her House Leadership office during a typically hectic legislative day on Capitol Hill in Washington, DC on Wednesday May 18, 2016. (Photo by Melina Mara/The Washington Post via Getty Images)
Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton (L) walks with House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi after attending a meeting with the House Democratic Caucus on June 22, 2016 at the US Capitol in Washington, DC. / AFP / MANDEL NGAN (Photo credit should read MANDEL NGAN/AFP/Getty Images)
UNITED STATES - JULY 28: House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi speaks at the Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia on Thursday, July 28, 2016. (Photo By Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)
WASHINGTON, DC - SEPTEMBER 14: House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-CA), chats with House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI), during a memorial service to honor the late Rep. Mark Takai (D-HI), 49, who died from pancreatic cancer last July, at the US Capitol September 14, 2016 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Mark Wilson/Getty Images)
WASHINGTON, DC - SEPTEMBER 21: (L-R) Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY), Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-NY), Speaker of the House Paul Ryan (R-WI), House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) and House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) drive nails into a piece of lumber at the 'First Nail Ceremony' September 21, 2016 outside the U.S. Capitol in Washington, DC. The ceremony marked the official launch of construction on the Inaugural platform where the next President of the United States will take the oath of office on Friday, January 20, 2017. (Photo by Win McNamee/Getty Images)
WASHINGTON, DC - SEPTEMBER 22: House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) answers questions during her weekly press conference at the U.S. Capitol September 22, 2016 in Washington, DC. Pelosi answered questions on a range of topics, including congressional negotiations on a new continuing resolution. (Photo by Win McNamee/Getty Images)
U.S. Vice President-elect Mike Pence, right, shakes hands with House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, a Democrat from California, following a meeting in Washington, D.C., U.S., on Thursday, Nov. 17, 2016. During their closed-door meeting, Pelosi expressed strong concerns about Trump's decision to name former Breitbart News chief Steve Bannon to be his chief White House strategist, and asked him to reconsider the appointment. Photographer: Chip Somodevilla/Pool via Bloomberg
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White House spokeswoman Sarah Sanders said Thursday on CNN that "it's insane" to think infrastructure talks can continue as if Democratic House Speaker Nancy Pelosi had not accused Trump of a "cover-up," as Pelosi did Wednesday shortly before the White House meeting. Sanders said, "It's real simple, you can't go down two tracks."

"It's very hard to have a meeting where you accuse the president of the United States of a crime and an hour later show up and act as if nothing has happened," Sanders told reporters outside the White House.

Trump tweeted that Democrats are a "do-nothing party!"

Senate Democratic Leader Chuck Schumer said on MSNBC that the president is "an erratic, helter-skelter, get-nothing-done" leader.

The exchanges followed a day of particularly personal conflict between Trump and Pelosi, who reclaimed the post second in line to the presidency after the 2018 midterm elections .

On Wednesday, Pelosi told reporters that Trump is engaged in a "cover-up," even as she sought to tamp down talk among some liberal Democrats pushing her to formally launch impeachment proceedings. Pelosi then headed to the White House with Schumer and other Democrats. Trump made them wait for 15 minutes. Then he walked into the Cabinet Room, shook no one's hand and refused to take a seat. Trump declared he would not work with them on infrastructure after all until they shut down their "phony investigations" and strode out to fill the world in on the encounter at a Rose Garden press conference.

Pelosi, who has a rich history of sassing Trump, issued some shade.

"For some reason, maybe it was lack of confidence on his part ... he took a pass, and it just makes me wonder why he did that," she told reporters back on Capitol Hill. "In any event I pray for the president of the United States."

"Nancy, thank you so much for your prayers, I know you truly mean it!" Trump tweeted from the White House.

But by Thursday, the White House's talking points turned to blaming Democrats for the apparent impasse on one of the few issues that have broad bipartisan public support.

Repeatedly pressed on why the president seemed unwilling to multitask like other presidents under investigation have done before, Sanders maintained without evidence that, "I think the Democrats have shown that they're not capable of doing anything else."

In fact, the Democratic-controlled House has passed several bills on issues including firearms background checks, prescription drugs and campaign finance reforms — though they are dead on arrival in the GOP-controlled Senate.

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Chuck Schumer through his career
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Chuck Schumer through his career
U.S. Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) speaks to reporters after the weekly Democratic caucus policy luncheon at the U.S. Capitol in Washington, U.S. March 21, 2017. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst
UNITED STATES - SEPTEMBER 15: Congressman Chuck Schumer votes in Park Slope. (Photo by Evy Mages/NY Daily News Archive via Getty Images)
Freshman Senator Chuck Schumer (D-NY) discusses the upcoming Senate trial of President Clinton during NBC's ''Meet the Press'' January 10, 1999 in Washington, DC. (photo by Richard Ellis)
UNITED STATES - CIRCA 2000: Sen. Chuck Schumer and First Lady Hillary Rodham Clinton join in the applause at a breakfast of the New York delegation at the Century Plaza Hotel on the first day of the Democratic National Convention in Los Angeles. (Photo by Harry Hamburg/NY Daily News Archive via Getty Images)
UNITED STATES - APRIL 27: Sen. Chuck Schumer and HUD Secretary Andrew Cuomo confer during a press conference at HUD headquarters, in response to the lawsuit filed by gun makers, who claim the government is giving preferential treatment to Smith and Wesson after they signed an agreement on gun safety. (Photo by Harry Hamburg/NY Daily News Archive via Getty Images)
UNITED STATES - CIRCA 2001: Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) meets the Daily News Editorial Board. Schumer said that Amtrak's $12 million high-speed rail proposal is the best solution to the air traffic congestion plaguing the area. (Photo by Pat Carroll/NY Daily News Archive via Getty Images)
UNITED STATES - NOVEMBER 27: Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) holds news conference to announce that he will chair hearings on the use of military tribunals to try terrorists. (Photo by Harry Hamburg/NY Daily News Archive via Getty Images)
UNITED STATES - MAY 04: Sen. Chuck Schumer (2nd from right) joins in the festivities along Sixth Ave. at the Cuban Day Parade. (Photo by Andrew Savulich/NY Daily News Archive via Getty Images)
UNITED STATES - NOVEMBER 02: Sen. Chuck Schumer celebrates his landslide reelection victory at the Grand Hyatt Hotel on E. 42nd St. (Photo by Corey Sipkin/NY Daily News Archive via Getty Images)
UNITED STATES - JANUARY 24: Sen. Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., puts his hand on a 39,500-person signed petition, collected by Moveon.org, to urge lawmakers to pass the Consumer Telephone Records Protection Act of 2006, which will combat the black market of cell phone call logs stolen and sold by criminals. Gen. Wesley Clark, center, was on hand to tell how his cell phone records were stolen. Sen. Bill Nelson, D-Fla., appears at left. (Photo By Tom Williams/Roll Call/Getty Images)
WASHINGTON - MARCH 15: U.S. Senator Chuck Schumer (D-NY) pauses during a media conference on Capitol Hill March 15, 2006 in Washington, DC. Schumer and U.S. Senator Lindsey Graham (R-SC) announced that they plan to travel to Beijing, Shanghai and Hong Kong next week to discuss Chinese currency measure practices, intellectual property issues as well as port security with officials there. The trip will occur prior to a scheduled Senate vote on whether to impose a high tariff on Chinese goods, in apparent retaliation to the Chinese yuan being reportedly held at an artificially low exchange rate. (Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images)
Senator Chuck Schumer during Gay Pride March 2006: The Fight for Love & Life at Street Location in New York City, New York, United States. (Photo by Daniel J. Barry/WireImage)
Senators Charles Schumer (D-NY), Harry Reid (D-NV) and Dick Durbin (D-IL) walk to a news conference to talk about the newly elected Democratic majority in the Senate in Washington November 9, 2006. (Photo by Chuck Kennedy/MCT/MCT via Getty Images)
UNITED STATES - JULY 25: Chairman of the Joint Economic Committee Senator Chuck Schumer speaks during a hearing on Subprime Mortgages and the Foreclosure Crisis, July 25, 2007, in Washington, D.C. The committee heard testimony from officials and families from Cleveland, Ohio, on how the foreclosures have adversely effected their city. (Photo by Joshua Roberts/Bloomberg via Getty Images)
UNITED STATES - SEPTEMBER 23: Sen. Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., and Sen. John Kerry, D-Mass., talk as the Senate Finance Committee's markup of 'The America's Health Future Act' continues on Tuesday, Sept. 29, 2009. (Photo By Bill Clark/Roll Call/Getty Images)
WASHINGTON - FEBRUARY 3: (AFP OUT) United States Senator Chuck Schumer (D-NY) listens as U.S. President Barack Obama speaks during a meeting of the Senate Democratic Policy Committee at the Newseum February 3, 2010 in Washington, D.C. Obama spoke on a range of topics including the state of the economy and healthcare reform. (Photo by Ron Sachs-Pool/Getty Images)
WASHINGTON, DC- MAY 13: U.S. Senator Chuck Schumer (D-NY) speaks to media after meeting with Solicitor General Elena Kagan, President Obama's nominee for the U.S. Supreme Court, on Capitol Hill May 13 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Melina Mara/The Washington Post via Getty Images)
U.S. Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-NY) speaks to the delegates on the second night of the 2012 Democratic National Convention at Time Warner Cable Arena, Wednesday, September 5, 2012 in Charlotte, North Carolina. (Todd Sumlin/Charlotte Observer/MCT via Getty Images)
MEET THE PRESS -- Pictured: (l-r) ? Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-NY) left, and Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) right, appear on 'Meet the Press' in Washington D.C., Sunday, Jan. 20, 2013. (Photo by: William B. Plowman/NBC/NBC NewsWire via Getty Images)
US Senator John McCain (R-AZ) and Senator Chuck Schumer (D-NY) joke during a press conference on an agreement for principles on comprehensive immigration reform framework at the US Capitol in Washington, DC, on January 28, 2013. AFP PHOTO / Saul LOEB (Photo credit should read SAUL LOEB/AFP/Getty Images)
Senator Chuck Schumer, a Democrat from New York, listens as Ben S. Bernanke, chairman of the U.S. Federal Reserve, not seen, delivers his semi-annual monetary policy report to the Senate Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs Committee in Washington, D.C., U.S., on Thursday, July 18, 2013. Bernanke said one reason for the recent rise in long-term interest rates is the unwinding of leveraged and 'excessively risky' investing. Photographer: Pete Marovich/Bloomberg via Getty Images
NEW YORK, NY - AUGUST 03: Democratic Senator Chuck Schumer and comedian Amy Schumer hold a joint press conference announcing plans to crackdown on mass shootings and gun violence on August 3, 2015 in New York City. This comes in the wake of the recent shooting in Louisiana. (Photo by Steve Sands/WireImage)
WASHINGTON, DC - MARCH 09: Sen. Chuck Schumer, (D-NY), speaks about social security, during a news conference on Capitol Hill, February 9, 2016 in Washington, DC. Senate democrats are urging Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell to bring the 'Seniors and Veterans Emergency Benefits Act' to the floor for a vote. (Photo by Mark Wilson/Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NY - JUNE 12: United States Senator Chuck Schumer attends the 70th Annual Tony Awards at Beacon Theatre on June 12, 2016 in New York City. (Photo by Jim Spellman/WireImage)
PHILADELPHIA, PA - JULY 27: Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-NY) cheers on the third day of the Democratic National Convention at the Wells Fargo Center, July 27, 2016 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton received the number of votes needed to secure the party's nomination. An estimated 50,000 people are expected in Philadelphia, including hundreds of protesters and members of the media. The four-day Democratic National Convention kicked off July 25. (Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images)
WASHINGTON, DC - JANUARY 20: Sen. Chuck Schumer delivers remarks as President-Elect Donald Trump looks on on the West Front of the U.S. Capitol on January 20, 2017 in Washington, DC. In today's inauguration ceremony Donald J. Trump becomes the 45th president of the United States. (Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NY - FEBRUARY 15: A February 20, 2017 copy of TIME magazine sits in a rack at a doctor's office February 15, 2017 in New York City. The face of U.S. Senator Chuck Schumer, the Democratic Party's senate opposition leader from New York, is on the cover. (Photo by Robert Nickelsberg/Getty Images)
WASHINGTON, DC - MARCH 02: Senate Democratic Leader Charles Schumer departs after answering questions at the U.S. Capitol during a press conference on reports of U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions meeting with the Russian ambassador during the 2016 presidential campaign March 2, 2017 in Washington, DC. Schumer called for the resignation of Sessions and the establishment of a special prosecutor to investigate alleged contact between the campaign of U.S. President Donald Trump and members of the Russian government. (Photo by Win McNamee/Getty Images)
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Sanders also insisted that Trump's walk-out Wednesday wasn't planned before Pelosi's comments and that the White House placard that appeared on Trump's lectern as he denounced Democrats had been printed "weeks ago." Asked why Trump couldn't work with Democrats after Pelosi's comments because he felt insulted, Sanders said, "The president's feelings weren't hurt. She accused him of a crime. Let that sink in."

Despite Trump's comments Wednesday about ceasing work with Democrats until investigations end, Sanders said "Staff-level conversations continue" on talks to raise the debt limit, a critical piece of legislation that will need to be taken up in the coming months.

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