Trump Refuses to Cooperate with Impeachment Inquiry, Raises Stakes with Democrats

  • "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.

Impeachment in the United States is the process by which a legislature (usually in the form of the lower house) brings charges against a civil officer of government for crimes alleged to have been committed, analogous to the bringing of an indictment by a grand jury. The impeached official remains in office until a trial is held by the upper house.

“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.

Thomas Porteous is a former United States District Judge of the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Louisiana. He served for sixteen years before being impeached and removed from office in December 2010. To date, he is the last federal official to be impeached and removed from office.

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.

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Vincent Ferdinand

News reporting is my thing. My view of what is happening in our world is colored by my love of history and how the past influences events taking place in the present time.  I like reading politics and writing articles. It was said by Geoffrey C. Ward, "Journalism is merely history's first draft." Everyone who writes about what is happening today is indeed, writing a small part of our history.

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