The letter announcing the administration’s refusal to cooperate was written by the president’s White House counsel Pat Cipollone. Cipollone argued that the impeachment inquiry is a “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.”
Furthermore, Cipollone writes, the inquiry is “constitutionally invalid and a violation of due process.”
“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 nine-page letter concludes. “The President has a country to lead.”
“This would be funny if it weren’t so delusional.”
Those claims by the White House, however, met with immediate pushback, with Politico journalist Andrew Desiderio pointing out that Cipollone’s letter read “more like a political document than a legal document.”
“This would be funny if it weren’t so delusional,” tweeted progressive group MoveOn in response to the announcement. “The House is completely within its rights to hold impeachment hearings.”
Earlier Tuesday, as Common Dreams reported, the president’s lawyers said that the Watergate case against then-President Richard Nixon was improperly decided and that if the case came before the court today, there would be a “different result.”
“Wow, okay,” said U.S. District Court Judge Beryl Howell. “The department is taking an extraordinary position in this case.”
The strategy was summed up by Washington Post reporter Dave Weigel on Twitter.
“Can’t indict a president for possible wrongdoing while he’s in office; can’t impeach a president over possible wrongdoing because he was elected and therefore ‘no backsies,'” tweeted Weigel. “Real moral hazard hours.”
Indivisible’s Leah Greenberg laid out the stakes.
“But seriously folks this is actually a constitutional crisis,” said Greenberg.
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