Trump refuses House requests for information

Lester Mason
May 18, 2019

The Justice Department bars indictments of sitting presidents and Mueller's report made clear that the special counsel felt that the policy prevented him from saying definitively whether Trump's attacks on the investigation amounted to criminal obstruction.

White House counsel Pat Cipollone sent a 12-page letter to the committee chairman, Rep. Jerrold Nadler, D-N.Y., labeling congressional investigations as efforts to "harass" Trump in the wake of special counsel Robert Mueller's probe into Russian election interference.

The May 15 letter from White House counsel Pat Cipollone to House Judiciary Committee chair Jerrold Nadler takes the view that the committee's probe serves no legitimate legislative objective.

Also on "Constitutional crisis" or political stunt?

"Our responsibility to the constitutionally based prerogatives of the Executive Branch, our obligation to protect those prerogatives for all future occupants of the Office of the Presidency, and our respect for the rule of law require that we resist the overbroad demands in the committee's letter", the lawyer wrote.

Nadler in early March requested documents from 81 Trump allies or Trump-related entities as part of a broad investigation into whether Trump abused his power, obstructed justice and engaged in public corruption.

In a later call with reporters, a White House official blamed the stand-off on overreaching by Nadler and the committee's Democrats.

"It appears that the Committee's inquiry is designed, not to further a legitimate legislative objective, but rather to conduct a pseudo law enforcement investigation on matters that were already the subject of the Special Counsel's long-running investigation and are outside the constitutional authority of the legislative branch", Cipollone wrote.

"Unfortunately, it appears that you have already made a decision to press ahead with a duplicative investigation, including by issuing subpoenas, to replow the same ground the Special Counsel has already covered", said Cipollone.

Cipollone's letter was the latest instance of the Trump administration's efforts to impede some 20 congressional investigations into his turbulent presidency, his family and his personal business interests.

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.

The requests also went to several former White House officials.

The White House counsel stopped short of invoking blanket executive privilege, but he said the White House would only cooperate with narrow requests from Nadler if Congress explained the legislative purposes behind them.

Democrats are now considering contempt resolutions against other top administration officials and plan to vote on them, possibly all at once, and perhaps in June. "How about you work on things that fall within the jurisdiction of the Judiciary Committee?"

The House Judiciary Committee voted to hold Barr in contempt of Congress last week, over his refusal to comply with a subpoena to provide documents related to the special counsel's investigation.

Other reports by Iphone Fresh

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