- White House counsel Pat Cipollone called the impeachment proceedings baseless.
- Democrats have threatened to use Trump’s refusal to comply as evidence of obstruction of justice that may be used against him.
- Prior to January 2019, many of the attempts fell through because Democrats lacked a majority in the House of Representatives.
The White House has refused to cooperate with the House Democrats’ investigative inquiry into a controversial July 25 phone call that U.S. President Donald Trump made to Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky. The U.S. president is alleged to have compelled the Ukrainian government to investigate corruption allegations against Joe Biden and his son by withholding aid.
In an eight-page letter sent to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) on Tuesday, White House counsel Pat Cipollone called the proceedings baseless. He dismissed the inquiry as unconstitutional and tailored towards undermining the country’s democratic process by attempting to overturn the 2016 electoral results.
This latest White House pronouncement signifies a halt to all cooperation with involved investigative committees and is likely to force Democrats into a drawn-out legal process. Without proper investigations, there is a possibility that supporting evidence will be insufficient to build a strong enough case against the president. This is the likely scenario that his legal team is banking on.
Trump has publicly declared the investigation a “political Witch Hunt” that will yield no results. The State Department has already directed key figures, including Gordon Sondland, the U.S. ambassador to the European Union, not to appear before House Democrat committees. Trump has, in particular, publicly stated that he gave the order barring Sondland from testifying because, he believed, due process was compromised and biased.
Additionally, the White House has doubled down on its stonewalling by outright dismissing voluntary requests to hand over documents related to the case. The move has forced the Democratic heads of three House of Representatives committees to issue subpoenas. Democrats have threatened to use Trump’s refusal to comply as evidence of obstruction of justice that may be used against him.
The Office of the Vice President has had this to say in response:
“Given the scope, it [the request for documents] does not appear to be a serious request, but just another attempt by the do nothing Democrats to call attention to their partisan impeachment.”
Trump has found himself in the line of impeachable allegations on numerous occasions. They have ranged from suspected collusion with Russia during his 2016 presidential campaign to obstruction of justice. Reports on efforts to impeach him started soon after his inauguration in 2017. Most of them were related to conflict of interest concerns and targeted his business dealings.
Prior to January 2019, many of the attempts fell through because Democrats lacked a majority in the House of Representatives. Now, as spelled out by Trump, the impeachment process may gain steam in the early stages, but will most likely be knocked down once it reaches the Senate. Republicans outnumber Democrats in the upper house of Congress.
Democratic candidate Joe Biden, who is likely to face Trump in the 2020 election face-off, has ratcheted up his rhetoric and joined calls for the president to be impeached. “To preserve our Constitution, our democracy, our basic integrity, he should be impeached.”