During the session, Mr. Trump suggested that the mayor of Oakland, Calif., should be charged with obstruction of justice for warning her constituents in February of an impending large-scale immigration raid and arrests.
“You talk about obstruction of justice,” said the president, who is himself the subject of a special counsel’s investigation into whether he sought to thwart a federal examination of Russia’s meddling in the 2016 elections. “I would recommend that you look into obstruction of justice for the mayor of Oakland.”
Turning to Jeff Sessions, his attorney general, who sat at the other end of the large wooden conference table, Mr. Trump said: “Perhaps the Department of Justice can look into that.”
The round table took place exactly one week after Mr. Trump used a closed-door cabinet meeting to castigate Kirstjen Nielsen, the secretary of homeland security, for failing to do enough to crack down at the border. On Wednesday, Ms. Nielsen said little when called upon to speak, other than to thank Mr. Trump for his leadership on the issue.
“You’re doing a good job, and it’s not an easy job,” Mr. Trump told Ms. Nielsen.
He alluded to a recent push by his administration that parents be separated from their children when families cross illegally into the United States, but blamed Democrats — many of whom have vehemently opposed the practice — for the new policy.
“I know what you’re going through right now with families is very tough, but those are the bad laws that the Democrats gave us,” Mr. Trump said. “We have to break up families. The Democrats gave us that law.”
The president also took aim at Mexico as unhelpful on immigration.
“Mexico does nothing for us,” Mr. Trump said. “Mexico talks, but they do nothing for us, especially at the border. Certainly don’t help us much on trade, but especially at the border, they do nothing for us.”