President’s Counsel Says White House Won’t Cooperate With Impeachment Inquiry
WASHINGTON – In a letter delivered to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., and the chairs of three House committees late Tuesday afternoon, the White House said it would not cooperate with the ongoing impeachment inquiry, dismissing it as an effort to “overturn the results of the 2016 election.”
Throughout the eight-page letter, White House counsel Pat Cipollone accuses Pelosi, Intelligence Committee Chair Adam Schiff, Foreign Affairs Committee Chair Eliot Engel, and Oversight and Reform Committee chair Elijah Cummings, of designing and implementing the impeachment inquiry “in a manner that violates fundamental fairness and constitutionally mandated due process.”
“Many Democrats now apparently view impeachment not only as a means to undo the democratic results of the last election, but as a strategy to influence the next election, which is barely more than a year away,” Cipollone said.
Pelosi announced late last month that the House would formally launch an impeachment inquiry into Trump, alleging he abused his office by urging the Ukrainian president to “look into” Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden.
House Democrats in recent days have issued subpoenas as part of the investigation demanding records from the White House, Vice President Mike Pence, the Office of Management and Budget, and Trump’s personal lawyer Rudy Giuliani.
The response from the White House has been increasingly confrontational.
Earlier on Tuesday the State Department directed the U.S. ambassador to the European Union, Gordon Sondland, not to appear before as previously scheduled to discuss his conversations related to Ukraine.
Sondland’s attorney, Robert Luskin, said his client was “profoundly disappointed” that he wouldn’t be able to testify.
Chairman Schiff called the failure to produce Sondland and the requested documents is “yet additional strong evidence of obstruction of the Constitutional functions of Congress.”
On Tuesday evening, the White House said, “given that your inquiry lacks any legitimate constitutional foundation, any pretense of fairness, or even the most elementary due process protections, the Executive Branch cannot be expected to participate in it.”
“Because participating in this inquiry under the current unconstitutional posture would inflict lasting institutional harm on the Executive Branch and lasting damage to the separation of powers, you have left the President no choice,” Cipollone said.
None of the letter recipients could immediately be reached for comment.
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