President Donald Trump’s administration signaled its intention Tuesday to fight the so-called impeachment inquiry announced by House Democrats in a letter that says Democrats’ effort to gather dirt on Trump is “unconstitutional.”
The White House letter from counsel Pat A. Cipollone was sent to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi of California, as well as House Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Rep. Eliot Engel of New York, House Oversight Committee Chairman Rep. Elijah Cummings of Maryland and House Intelligence Committee Chairman Rep. Adam Schiff of California.
“President Trump and his Administration reject your baseless, unconstitutional efforts to overturn the democratic process,” it read.
The letter uncompromisingly trashed the “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.’”
“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,” the letter said.
“All of this violates the Constitution, the rule of law, and every past precedent.”
The letter said Democrats are not seeking justice, but rather trying to reverse the results of an election they lost.
“Put simply, you seek to overturn the results of the 2016 election and deprive the American people of the President they have freely chosen,” the letter said.
“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,” it added.
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“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.”
The letter also noted comments from House Judiciary Committee Chairman Rep. Jerrold Nadler of New York, made during the impeachment process against then-President Bill Clinton, as saying that impeachment sought to subvert the will of the people.
The letter said Democrats’ attempt to gloss over their efforts to find damaging information on Trump by calling their investigations an “impeachment inquiry” is a sham.
“Your inquiry is constitutionally invalid and a violation of due process,” the letter said.
“In the history of our Nation, the House of Representatives has never attempted to launch an impeachment inquiry against the President without a majority of the House taking political accountability for that decision by voting to authorize such a dramatic constitutional step.”
According to Cipollone, Democrats are trying to claim subpoena power for an inquiry that was not properly formed, which violates all past practices.
“The House’s utter disregard for the established procedural safeguards followed in past impeachment inquiries shows that the current proceedings are nothing more than an unconstitutional exercise in political theater,” the letter said.
The letter called Democrats’ effort to remove Trump from office “a naked political strategy that began the day he was inaugurated, and perhaps even before,” adding, “The Founders, however, did not create the extraordinary mechanism of impeachment so it could be used by a political party that feared for its prospects against the sitting President in the next election.”
“Unfortunately, the President’s political opponents now seem eager to transform impeachment from an extraordinary remedy that should rarely be contemplated into a conventional political weapon to be deployed for partisan gain,” the letter said.
“Unfortunately, you are now playing out exactly the partisan rush to judgment that the Founders so strongly warned against,” Cipollone added.
The letter upbraided Democrats for using a July 25 phone call between Trump and the president of Ukraine as a catalyst to begin the inquiry prior to the release of a transcript that provided the substance of the call.
“Perhaps the best evidence that there was no wrongdoing on the call is the fact that, after the actual record of the call was released, Chairman Schiff chose to concoct a false version of the call and to read his made-up transcript to the American people at a public hearing,” Cipollone wrote.
He added that contact from a Schiff staffer with a whistleblower who filed a complaint about the call and Schiff’s subsequent denial of any such contact have tainted the Intelligence Committee chairman’s impartiality beyond redemption.
The letter then summed up Trump’s position and flat-out told Democrats the White House will not cooperate with them.
“Given that your inquiry lacks any legitimate constitutional foundation, any pretense of fairness, or even the most elementary due process protections, the Executive Branch cannot be expected to participate in it,” the letter said.
The letter closed by saying Trump had more important things to do than help Democrats with what it called an unconstitutional investigation.
“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 letter said.
“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.”
In reply, Pelosi dismissed the letter as “simply another unlawful attempt to hide the facts of the Trump Administration’s brazen efforts to pressure foreign powers to intervene in the 2020 elections,” according to The Washington Post.
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