White House Refuses to Cooperate with Congress’s Impeachment Probe
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In a letter to Democratic congressional leaders on Tuesday, the White House censured the Congress’s impeachment proceedings against Trump as “partisan,” and “unconstitutional,” describing the investigation as an effort to “overturn the results of the 2016 election.”
White House counsel Pat Cipollone accused House Democrats in the eight-page letter of making “legally unsupported demands,” and stressed that their unprecedented actions “have left Trump with no choice.”
“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,” Cipollone wrote. “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."
“Consistent with the duties of the President of the United States, and in particular his obligation to preserve the rights of future occupants of his office, President Trump cannot permit his Administration to participate in this partisan inquiry under these circumstances,” he wrote.
The letter came as the administration in Washington also barred the US ambassador to the European Union — Gordon Sondland — from testifying before the House over the president’s Ukraine controversy.
Sondland had been asked to appear before the house and answer questions on October 16.
Top Democrats warned that the administration’s failure to comply with their requests could be cited as “obstruction” in future articles of impeachment.
The US House, led by Speaker Nancy Pelosi, launched last week its formal impeachment inquiry into Trump over a whistle-blower's complaint alleging that he had called on Ukraine to investigate former Vice President Joe Biden, a Democratic front-runner in the 2020 election.
The White House later released a partial memo of a July 25 call between Trump and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, showing that Trump had asked Zelensky to “look into” Biden and his son, Hunter, with help from his administration.
Trump reportedly urged Zelenskiy about eight times in the phone call to work with his lawyer Rudy Giuliani to investigate government corruption involving the Bidens, warning that he would not give Ukraine the promised military aid in case he refused.
He has denied wrongdoing, claiming that he held up the aid because he wanted other countries to contribute more to Ukraine's defense, while Democrats argue the move amounted to the president seeking help from a foreign power against a political rival.
According to a recent Reuters/Ipsos poll, nearly half of Americans believe Trump should be impeached.