Published: Sat, May 18, 2019

‘No do-overs’: White House will not cooperate with further Trump investigations

‘No do-overs’: White House will not cooperate with further Trump investigations

White House Counsel Pat Cipollone sent a letter Wednesday to House Judiciary Chairman Jerry Nadler arguing that the committee's request for documents was illegitimate.

"Congressional investigations are meant to obtain information to aid in evaluating potential legislation, not to harass political opponents or to pursue an unauthorized "do-over" of exhaustive law enforcement investigations conducted by the Department of Justice", Cipollone concluded.

"The only goal for this duplication seems to be harassing and seeking to embarrass political opponents after an exhaustive two-year investigation by the Department of Justice did not reach the conclusion that some members of the committee apparently would have preferred", Cipollone wrote.

Cipollone wrote that the committee does not have the right "to harass political opponents" or conduct an "unauthorized "do-over" of the recently completed probe into Trump led by special counsel Robert Mueller.

Nadler responded to the latest Trump administration rejection by accusing the White House of "claiming that the President is a king".

"The president is not above the law, but he's also not below the law", said the White House official during a telephone conference call with reporters. "If we were to agree to that, then no president would ever be subject to any kind of investigation for misconduct of any type". Attorney General William Barr and former Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein determined that Mr. Trump did not obstruct justice, but Democrats believe that Mueller kicked the issue to Congress to decide.

The document request also focused on events during the Trump administration including any conversations about presidential pardons, and meetings or conversations the president had with the Russian government and other foreign leaders. "I ask that you reconsider that approach".

Cipollone asked Nadler to cancel the investigation.

Other Democratic leaders appear less keen on the idea of inherent contempt, which Congress hasn't used in almost a century.

Trump's advisers have been pushing him to defy congressional investigations in hopes of luring Democrats into escalating a fight they say will turn voters against the party in the 2020 elections.

"Today, the White House made the extraordinary demand that the Committee discontinue its inquiry into obstruction of justice, public corruption, and abuses of power, including as set forth in the Mueller Report".

Nadler threatened to issue more subpoenas in order to obtain the information and testimony the White House refused to provide.

The administration's presentation in federal court Tuesday over a lawsuit in which they are attempting to block the House Oversight Committee's subpoena for Trump's financial records from accounting firm Mazars USA showed how weak their arguments for stonewalling are, Jayapal said.

And the White House lawyer indicated that he wouldn't play ball.

"If the committee intends to continue its inquiry", Cipollone wrote, "it would greatly advance that process if the committee were to narrow the scope of the requests". The letter asks the committee to "narrow the sweeping scope of the requests in the letter and articulate the legislative objective and legal support for each of the disparate requests it wishes to pursue, including by addressing each of the legal deficiencies that I raise in this letter". "We will do no such thing", Nadler said in a statement.

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