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White House tells Congress it won’t comply with ‘constitutionally illegitimate’ impeachment inquiry

President Donald J. Trump talks to members of the press on the South Lawn of the White House Friday, October 4, 2019, prior to boarding Marine One en route the Walter Reed Emergency Landing Zone in Bethesda, Md. (Official White House Photo by Joyce N. Boghosian)
October 08, 2019

The White House submitted a letter to Congress on behalf of President Trump formally refusing to participate in the House of Representatives’ impeachment inquiry.

The letter, announced by a White House statement Tuesday afternoon, was authored by Counsel to the President, Pat Cipollone, and declared the impeachment inquiry “constitutionally illegitimate,” among other criticisms.

“I write … 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,’” the letter stated, adding that the inquiry “violated fundamental fairness and constitutionally mandated due process.”

“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 said.

The letter then outlined numerous examples of the inquiry’s actions that have violated laws, the Constitution, and past precedent.

“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,” the letter said.

“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,” it added.

The letter comes two weeks after House Speaker Nancy Pelosi announced an official impeachment inquiry, sparked by allegations that Trump withheld $391 million in aid from Ukraine as a tactic of pressuring the country to investigate Biden and his son, Hunter Biden.

“The letter demonstrates that the Democrats’ inquiry lacks any legitimate constitutional foundation, any pretense of fairness, and even the most elementary due process protections,” the White House statement noted on Tuesday.

“Democrats are pursuing purely partisan goals, including influencing the upcoming 2020 election.  In the process, they are violating civil liberties and the separation of powers, threatening Executive Branch officials with punishment simply for exercising their constitutional rights and prerogatives,” the statement added.