The White House letter refusing to cooperate with the House impeachment inquiry is 'simply another unlawful attempt to hide the facts,' Pelosi wrote.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi slapped down the latest attempt by the White House to obstruct an impeachment inquiry into Donald Trump's alleged wrongdoing.
The most recent effort, in the form of a letter from White House counsel Pat Cipollone, is "manifestly wrong, and is simply another unlawful attempt to hide the facts of the Trump Administration's brazen efforts to pressure foreign powers to intervene in the 2020 elections," Pelosi said in a Tuesday evening statement.
Earlier on Tuesday, Cipollone wrote to Pelosi asserting Trump and Trump officials "cannot participate in your partisan and unconstitutional inquiry under these circumstances." The White House sent the letter hours after blocking European Union Ambassador Gordon Sondland from testifying about Trump's actions with regard to Ukraine.
Pelosi dismissed the letter as "the latest attempt to cover up [Trump's] betrayal of our democracy, and to insist that the President is above the law," and adding that there is "a growing body of evidence that shows that President Trump abused his office and violated his oath to 'protect, preserve and defend the Constitution.'"
In a July 25 phone call, Trump asked Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky to dig up dirt on former Vice President Joe Biden, a leading candidate in the 2020 Democratic presidential primary. After the call, Trump officials sent text messages saying "it's crazy to withhold security assistance for help with a political campaign," referring to almost $400 in military aid Trump blocked from going to Ukraine.
Since then, Trump has publicly repeated his request for Ukraine to investigate Biden, and he also publicly asked China to open an investigation.
It is illegal for campaigns and candidates to solicit or accept dirt on a political opponent from foreign nationals.
Pelosi added that the White House "should be warned that continued efforts to hide the truth of the President's abuse of power from the American people will be regarded as further evidence of obstruction."
Pelosi wasn't alone in calling out the Trump White House for their latest efforts at obstruction.
"This letter is bananas," Gregg Nunziata, a former counsel for Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL), wrote shortly after the letter was released. "A barely-lawyered temper tantrum. A middle finger to Congress and its oversight responsibilities. No Member of Congress should accept it, no matter his or her view on the behavior of Pelosi, Schiff, or Trump. Things are bad. Things will get worse."
Former Acting Solicitor General Neal Katyal called the letter "inane," adding, "You don't get to block impeachment just [because] you don't like it."
One of the articles of impeachment for Richard Nixon involved Nixon refusing to comply with demands from the House of Representatives for documents and information. In the article of impeachment, Nixon's actions were described as "subversive of constitutional government," adding the U.S. Constitution gives the House sole power to impeach Executive Branch officials.
Nixon resigned from office before the House voted on articles of impeachment.
Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.