In a dramatic development, the White House sent a letter Tuesday to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi forcefully rejecting the impeachment inquiry as “illegitimate” and refusing to participate in her “partisan and unconstitutional inquiry.”
In other words, the White House and President Donald Trump are now refusing to cooperate with the impeachment inquiry, which analysts are already saying will set up a “constitutional clash.”
White House counsel Pat Cipollone authored the eight-page letter, which was addressed to Pelosi as well as House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff, House Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Eliot Engel, and House Committee on Oversight and Reform Chairman Elijah Cummings.
“I write on behalf of President Donald J. Trump in response to your numerous, legally unsupported demands made as part of what you have labeled—contrary to the Constitution of the United States and all past bipartisan precedent—as an ‘impeachment inquiry.’ As you know, you have designed and implemented your inquiry in a manner that violates fundamental fairness and constitutionally mandated due process,” the letter begins.
The letter goes on to accuse the Democrats of conducting their “proceedings in secret” while denying President Trump the “right to cross-examine witnesses, to call witnesses, to receive transcripts of testimony, to have access to evidence, to have counsel present, and many other basic rights guaranteed to all Americans.”
“You have violated civil liberties and the separations of powers by threatening Executive Branch officials, claiming that you will seek to punish those who exercise fundamental constitutional rights and prerogatives. All of this violates the Constitution, the rule of law, and every past precedent. Never before in our history has the House of Representatives—under the control of either political party—taken the American people down the dangerous path you seem determined to pursue,” the letter says.
The letter then claims that Democrats are attempting to “overturn the results of the 2016 election and deprive the American people of the President they have freely chosen.”
It later cities a number of U.S. Supreme Court cases, such as Watkins v. United States and Hastings v. United States. These cases, according to Cipollone, show that due process rights “are not a matter of discretion for the Committees to dispense with at will,” but are “constitutional requirements.”
“The Supreme Court has recognized that due process protections apply to all congressional investigations. Indeed, it has been recognized that the Due Process Clause applies to impeachment proceedings. And precedent for the rights to cross-examine witnesses, call witnesses, and present evidence dates back nearly 150 years,” the letter continues, saying the Democrats have “decided to deny the President these elementary rights.”
The letter concludes by asking the Democrats to abandon the impeachment inquiry and join President Trump in “focusing on the many important goals that matter to the American people.”
“For these reasons, President Trump and his administration reject your baseless, unconstitutional efforts to overturn the democratic process,” it states. “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.”
The full letter can be read below:
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Anthony Gockowski is managing editor of Battleground State News, The Ohio Star, and The Minnesota Sun. Follow Anthony on Twitter. Email tips to firstname.lastname@example.org.”
Photo “Donald Trump” by Gage Skidmore. CC BY-SA 2.0. Photo “Nancy Pelosi” by Nancy Pelosi.