House Democrats have been informed by the Trump administration that the president refuses to comply with their “illegitimate proceedings,” regarding the impeachment inquiry, reports Daily Wire.
In a statement, White House press secretary Stephanie Grisham wrote: “The President has done nothing wrong, and the Democrats know it. For purely political reasons, the Democrats have decided their desire to overturn the outcome of the 2016 election allows them to conduct a so-called impeachment inquiry that ignores the fundamental rights guaranteed to every American. 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.”
The letter is addressed to Democrat leaders Nancy Pelosi, Eliot Engel, Adam Schiff, and Elijah Cummings, and is written by White House Counsel Pat A. Cipollone.
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 maimer that violates fundamental fairness and constitutionally mandated due process.
For example, you have denied the President 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 conducted your proceedings in secret. You have violated civil liberties and the separation 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.
Put simply, you seek to overturn the results of the 2016 election and deprive the American people of the President they have freely chosen. Many Democrats now apparently view impeachment not only as a means to undo the democratic results of the last election, but as a strategy to influence the next election, which is barely more than a year away. As one member of Congress explained, he is “concerned that if we don’t impeach the President, he will get re-elected.” Your highly partisan and unconstitutional effort threatens grave and lasting damage to our democratic institutions, to our system of free elections, and to the American people.
For his part, President Trump took the unprecedented step of providing the public transparency by declassifying and releasing the record of his call with President Zelenskyy of Ukraine. The record clearly established that the call was completely appropriate and that there is no basis for your inquiry. The fact that there was nothing wrong with the call was also powerfully confirmed by Chairman Schiff’s decision to create a false version of the call and read it to the American people at a congressional hearing, without disclosing that he was simply making it all up.
In addition, information has recently come to light that the whistleblower had contact with Chairman Schiff’s office before filing the complaint. His initial denial of such contact caused The Washington Post to conclude that Chairman Schiff “clearly made a statement that was false. ” In any event, the American people understand that Chairman Schiff cannot covertly assist with the submission of a complaint, mislead the public about his involvement, read a counterfeit version of the call to the American people, and then pretend to sit in judgment as a neutral “investigator.”
For these reasons, President Trump and his Administration reject your baseless, unconstitutional efforts to overturn the democratic process. 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.
Your recent letter to the Acting White House Chief of Staff argues that “[ e ]ven if an impeachment inquiry were not underway,” the Oversight Committee may seek this information as a matter of the established oversight process. Respectfully, the Committees cannot have it both ways. The letter comes from the Chairmen of three different Committees, it transmits a subpoena “[p]ursuant to the House of Representatives’ impeachment inquiry,” it recites that the documents will “be collected as part of the House’s impeachment inquiry,” and it asserts that the documents will be “shared among the Committees, as well as with the Committee on the Judiciary as appropriate.” The letter is in no way directed at collecting information in aid of legislation, and you simply cannot expect to rely on oversight authority to gather information for an unauthorized impeachment inquiry that conflicts with all historical precedent and rides roughshod over due process and the separation of powers. If the Committees wish to return to the regular order of oversight requests, we stand ready to engage in that process as we have in the past, in a manner consistent with well-established bipartisan constitutional protections and a respect for the separation of powers enshrined in our Constitution.
For the foregoing reasons, the President cannot allow your constitutionally illegitimate proceedings to distract him and those in the Executive Branch from their work on behalf of the American people. The President has a country to lead. The American people elected him to do this job, and he remains focused on fulfilling his promises to the American people. He has important work that he must continue on their behalf, both at home and around the world, including continuing strong economic growth, extending historically low levels of unemployment, negotiating trade deals, fixing our broken immigration system, lowering prescription drug prices, and addressing mass shooting violence. We hope that, in light of the many deficiencies we have identified in your proceedings, you will abandon the current invalid efforts to pursue an impeachment inquiry and join the President in focusing on the many important goals that matter to the American people.
Pat A. Cipollone
Counsel to the President