Donald Trump and Ted Cruz have clashed over Russia investigations, with Trump suggesting the investigations were being run by “Clinton-haters” and Cruz saying that the president has repeatedly suggested the probes were “rigged” against him.
The Republican candidates’ heated exchanges underscore how partisan their feuds have become in the first month of the Trump presidency.
The feud between Trump and Cruz has escalated in recent days, with Cruz saying he would consider using the courts to block Trump from appointing members to the House Intelligence Committee, and Trump saying he’d consider using impeachment against Cruz.
Cruz has already cast doubt on Trump’s ability to govern, saying that if he does not succeed, the “lawlessness” of the government will be revealed and that it would “break our nation.”
Trump has said the investigations into his campaign are “fake news” and that Cruz “has no evidence” that he colluded with the Russians.
Trump has been under intense scrutiny from Democrats, including from Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.), who has called for the investigation into Russian meddling to be closed and accused Trump of “trying to undermine” the legitimacy of the election.
Cruz has called the investigations “unconstitutional” and “criminal,” and has threatened to hold Trump accountable for violating the Emoluments Clause of the Constitution by accepting foreign payments.
Trump on Friday accused Cruz of being a “disgrace to the republic” and a “traitor” to the Republican Party.
He also criticized Cruz for criticizing Trump’s travel ban and for asking him to resign as head of the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom.
“Ted Cruz has betrayed the Republican party, and he’s a disgrace to the GOP,” Trump said.
“I have asked him to step down as chairman of the Republican National Committee and he refuses.
That’s not leadership.
That is treason.”
Trump also called for Cruz to step aside as chair of the House intelligence committee and accused him of using the committee’s investigation into Russia to “drive a wedge between the American people and the administration.”
The White House has sought to distance itself from Cruz and his attacks on Trump, and has called on the senator to return to Washington for more of his scheduled events.
“We are confident that Ted Cruz is not being targeted because he supports the president’s agenda,” spokeswoman Hope Hicks said Friday.