Rep.-elect Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez blasted Donald Trump Jr. on Friday for insulting her and in turn drew the ire of conservatives who saw her counterattack as a power-abusing threat to the eldest son of President Donald Trump.
"I have noticed that Junior here has a habit of posting nonsense about me whenever the Mueller investigation heats up," the Democratic Socialist from New York tweeted. "Please, keep it coming Jr - it's definitely a 'very, very large brain' idea to troll a member of a body that will have subpoena power in a month. Have fun!"
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The "brain" line appeared to reference President Donald Trump saying in September that an expert on Chinese affairs had assured him that "China has total respect for Donald Trump and for Donald Trump's very, very large brain."
Ocasio-Cortez was responding to a meme the President's son had posted that dismissed her and insinuated that socialists eat dogs.
Trump Jr.'s Instagram post showed a picture of Ocasio-Cortez with the phrase, "Why are you so afraid of a socialist economy?" followed by a picture of the President with the phrase, "Because Americans want to walk their dogs, not eat them." Trump Jr. captioned the photo, "It's funny cuz it's true!!!"
Several conservative pundits quickly cried foul at Ocasio-Cortez's tweet, saying she was threatening to subpoena a citizen for criticizing her.
"Did you just threaten to subpoena someone for criticizing you?" Kimberly Guilfoyle, Trump Jr.'s girlfriend and vice chairwoman of the pro-Trump political action committee America First Policies, tweeted. "As a lawyer and former prosecutor I find this deeply troubling."
Sean Davis, co-founder of conservative magazine The Federalist, tweeted, "It's worth noting that the official House Ethics Manual explicitly prohibits the kind of threat that @Ocasio2018 just issued against @DonaldJTrumpJr for his refusal to support her political agenda."
Ocasio-Cortez later tried to clarify her remarks, arguing that she did not have subpoena power as an individual freshman member.
"For the GOP crying that this is a 'threat' - I don't have power to subpoena anybody," she tweeted later Friday. "Congress as a body, GOP included, has the power. No indiv. member can issue a subpoena unless they are a Chair (which, as a freshman, I can assure you I will not be). Also must be under purview."
The exchange came as special counsel Robert Mueller's office was preparing to release two potentially explosive memos Friday -- a memo in Washington explaining the details of former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort's failed plea deal, and a sentencing recommendation for former Trump lawyer Michael Cohen, who pleaded guilty last week to lying to Congress, in New York.
Democrats have been openly planning to use their incoming majority to launch several investigations into an array of the Trump administration's affairs, including Cabinet members' behavior, policy decisions and the President's long-sought tax returns.
But during a news conference a day after the November election, the President threatened that if the Democrats investigated him, he would have the Republican-led Senate investigate them. "I think I'm better at that game than they are," he said.
This story has been updated.