White House says it will refuse to cooperate with ‘illegitimate, unconstitutional’ impeachment inquiry
WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The White House said on Tuesday it would refuse to cooperate with an “illegitimate, unconstitutional” congressional impeachment inquiry, setting Republican President Donald Trump on a collision course with the Democratic-led U.S. House of Representatives.
Hours after the administration abruptly blocked a key witness in the Ukraine scandal from testifying to congressional panels, White House lawyer Pat Cipollone criticized the decision by lawmakers to proceed with an impeachment inquiry without a full House vote.
“You have designed and implemented your inquiry in a manner that violates fundamental fairness and constitutionally mandated due process,” he said, adding House Democrats had left Trump “no choice.”
“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,” he said.
In the White House’s most aggressive response to the inquiry yet, the State Department had said earlier the U.S. ambassador to the European Union, Gordon Sondland, a Trump political donor, would not be allowed to appear before what Trump decried as a “kangaroo court.”
Democratic lawmakers denounced the effort to block testimony from Sondland, who had already flown in from Europe for the appearance, calling it an attempt to obstruct their inquiry. They issued a subpoena compelling him to appear on Oct. 16 to submit to questions.
The State Department did not respond to requests for comment on why Sondland had been blocked from speaking to lawmakers just hours before his scheduled appearance.
The Ukraine investigation has cast a pall over Trump’s campaign to win back the White House in 2020. A whistleblower complaint about a July 25 phone call in which Trump …read more
Read more here:: Task & Purpose