In a stunning blow to congressional Republicans, President Donald Trump’s team is threatening to withhold taxpayer-funded cleaning supplies and cleaning supplies vendors from House and Senate offices for months if they don’t stop cooperating with the president’s legal team.
The move by Trump’s administration comes as congressional Republicans are pressing to obtain Trump’s tax returns, which were stolen by hackers in the waning days of his presidency.
In a letter Monday, House Republicans said they had received a list of more than 2,000 cleaning supplies suppliers that were supposed to be provided to the White House by the White Houses Office of Legislative Affairs and its “cleaning supplies vendor network.”
But House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy, a California Republican, said the House has yet to receive any of the supplies.
He said House Speaker Paul Ryan, who is also in the midst of a tax dispute with Trump, would like to get those supplies.
The White House has denied it will hand over the supplies and said it will fight to prevent the withholding.
The White House said Monday it would not provide the cleaning supplies to any House or Senate office.
The supply-chain disruptions have caused chaos at the White’s House and the Republican-led House and Republican-controlled Senate.
The president’s personal lawyer, Marc Kasowitz, has threatened to sue some House and Democratic lawmakers if they refuse to comply with Trump’s requests for cleaning supplies.
The House is also looking at whether to require all House offices to use the WhiteHouse.gov site to provide cleaning supplies after the Whitehouse website went offline earlier this month.
House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., said House Republican leaders should have to hand over any cleanliness supplies or cleaning supplies they receive to the administration to avoid losing access to the supply-chains.
In a statement, the White house said the administration “will vigorously defend its legal rights to these products.”
“We are committed to cleaning the Capitol and protecting the American people from the criminal activities of the House and senate Republicans,” White House spokesman Sean Spicer said.
The Trump administration has long claimed it needs the supplies to ensure its tax returns are not stolen by foreign governments.
The administration has also pointed to Trump’s pledge to withhold $1.5 billion from the national debt over the next two years if House and senators don’t cooperate with his demands to release his tax returns.
Democrats, meanwhile, are urging Republicans to use their leverage to get Trump’s taxes and to stop the administration’s legal action.
House Speaker Paul D. Ryan, a Wisconsin Republican, has called on Trump to release the returns within 30 days.