- "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."
- The letter could itself constitute obstruction of justice and serve as further grounds for impeachment.
- In addition to Pelosi, the letter was also sent to the chairmen of the committees most involved in investigating Trump— Intelligence, Foreign Affairs, and Oversight.
US President Donald Trump confirmed on Tuesday that he does not plan to cooperate in investigations into his possible impeachment, in a process opened by Congress. White House lawyer Pat Cipollone sent a letter to the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Nancy Pelosi (D-CA), on behalf of President Trump, explaining the stance the president will take in the process of ascertaining whether there was pressure on Ukraine to investigate the former Vice President, Joe Biden.
“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 in the letter. “Your unprecedented actions have left the president with no choice. In order to fulfill his duties to the American people, the Constitution, the Executive Branch and all future occupants of the Office of the Presidency, President Trump and his administration cannot participate in your partisan and unconstitutional inquiry under these circumstances,” he added.
The letter could itself serve as further grounds for impeachment. Opposition Democrats have already hinted that Trump could be impeached not only for pressuring Ukraine to find dirt on the Bidens, but also for not allowing the investigation of the case to proceed. Some Democrats are now arguing that the White House isn’t cooperating which translates into an attempt to obstruct justice.
The letter came out shortly after Trump blocked the testimony by US Ambassador to the European Union, Gordon Sondland, who is considered one of the key witnesses in the case. For this reason, the letter would be a kind of confirmation that the blockade has not been isolated, and that the White House plans not to cooperate with the investigation. This stance had already been anticipated by Trump’s personal lawyer, Rudy Giuliani.
To refuse Democratic calls, the White House argues that investigations were opened before the impeachment process was approved in the House of Representatives. In addition, the administration accuses the opposition of denying Trump the right to due process, as the president’s lawyers have so far been unable to call witnesses to defend him.
Cipollone was, however, open to changing his stance if Democrats altered the “parameters” of the investigation, but avoided setting a clear condition that would lead Trump to start cooperating with Congress. In addition to Pelosi, the letter was also sent to the chairmen of the committees most involved in investigating Trump— Intelligence, Foreign Affairs, and Oversight— led by Democrats Adam Schiff (D-CA), Eliot Engel (D-NY), and Elijah Cummings (D-MD), respectively.