The White House informed House Democrats that President Donald Trump will not co-operate with an impeachment inquiry against him saying that the move is “constitutionally invalid.”
In an 8-page letter addressed to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Chairmen of House Committees on behalf of Trump, his lawyer Pat Cipollone argued that the impeachment proceedings amount to an illegitimate effort to overturn the 2016 presidential election results and influencing the upcoming 2020 election for “purely political reasons.”
The letter accuses Democrats of violating civil liberties and the separation of powers, threatening Executive Branch officials with punishment simply for exercising their constitutional rights and prerogatives.
“These partisan proceedings are an affront to the Constitution—as they are being held behind closed doors and deny the President the right to call witnesses, to cross-examine witnesses, to have access to evidence, and many other basic rights,” according to Trump.
White House sent the blistering letter after the State Department blocked the U.S. ambassador to the European Union from deposing before the Congress.
House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff, House Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Eliot Engel, and House Oversight Committee Chairman Elijah Cummings, who are leading the investigation into Trump’s phone call with Ukraine’s president, issued a subpoena Tuesday for Gordon Sondland.
It required Sondland to “testify at a deposition next Wednesday and to produce documents recovered from his personal devices before the deposition.” The Democrats suggested blocking testimony may amount to an impeachable offense.
Sondland is a key witness in the Trump administration’s controversial interactions with his Ukrainian counterpart, with knowledge about how the president wanted Ukraine’s government to probe corruption allegations against Joe Biden, his potential rival in the 2020 election, and his son Hunter Biden, who was on the board of a gas company in Ukraine.
The Committees are investigating the extent to which Trump jeopardized national security by pressing Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky to interfere with the 2020 U.S. presidential election and withholding security assistance provided by Congress to help Ukraine counter Russian aggression, as well as any efforts to cover up these matters.
The impeachment inquiry was spurred by a whistle blower complaint against the president. It says Trump urged Zelensky to investigate the Bidens in his July 25 phone call.
In a Tuesday night tweet, Trump called the impeachment inquiry “the greatest witch hunt in the history of the USA.”
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