White House rejects Nadler's demands in obstruction probe

Trump waves outside the White House in Washington

Cipollone has sent a letter to House Judiciary Chairman Jerry Nadler (D-NY) refusing any and all requests for documents, and refusing refusing any and all testimony of current and even former White House aides.

Earlier Wednesday, Nadler held a hearing on executive privilege where he revealed that "the White House has attempted to impede over 20 congressional investigations, including by ignoring or failing to provide meaningful responses to dozens of letters requesting information on topics ranging from the Affordable Care Act, to the security of our elections, to the policy of separating children from their parents at the border".

Other Judiciary Democrats were also aghast at the White House letter asking they end their probe or at a minimum narrow their information requests.

In a subsequent statement, Nadler said: "Today, the White House made the extraordinary demand that the Committee discontinue its inquiry into obstruction of justice, public corruption, and abuses of power, including as set forth in the Mueller Report". Instead, he told Nadler he would consider a narrowed request if the chairman spells out the legislative objective and legal support for the information he is seeking.

"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. The senior official contended the administration will comply with all "legitimate" requests that Nadler can show are "relevant" to "some legislative goal".

File photo: South Lawn of the White House in Washington, U.S., June 5, 2018.

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The third rationale is that the Judiciary Committee's inquiry is purely political and it has no "legitimate legislative purpose" to its inquiries into the Muller Report and is conducting "a pseudo law enforcement investigation" that is "outside the constitutional authority of the legislative branch".

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

The document request also focused on events during the Trump administration including any conversations about presidential pardons, and meetings or conversations the president had with the Russian government and other foreign leaders.

The White House doesn't plan to voluntarily acquiesce to House Democrats' sweeping demands for information anytime soon. And he vowed to hold in contempt whoever does not comply with said subpoenas. But the Department of Justice wrote a memo in 2000 that states Congress can look into "serious wrongdoing" by a president "through its own investigatory powers". "We will hear from Mueller, we will hear from [former White House counsel Don McGahn]", Nadler said after Cipollone's letter.

In addition, the House Ways and Means Committee has issued a subpoena for Trump's personal and business tax returns.

"Now it adds the extreme claim that Congress can not act either, because that would duplicate the special counsel's work", said Nadler.

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