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Team Trump says it won't cooperate with House investigations

18 May 2019

Isn't this essentially obstruction of justice?

President Donald Trump's White House counsel Pat Cipollone sent a letter to House Judiciary Committee Chairman Rep. Jerry Nadler (D-N.Y.) detailing the "principal legal flaws" in the Committee's numerous March 4 demands.

"The White House will not participate in the committee's "investigation" that brushes aside the conclusions of the Department of Justice after a two-year-long effort in favor of political theater pre-ordained to reach a preconceived and false result", said the 12-page letter from Cipollone.

Trump apparently answers to no one. He did say that the White House would continue to work with the committee if it narrowed the scope of its request, and articulated "the legislative objective and legal basis supporting each of the remaining requests".

"Congressional investigations are meant to obtain information to aid in evaluating potential legislation, not to harass political opponents or to pursue an unauthorized "do-over" of exhaustive law enforcement investigations conducted by the Department of Justice", Cipollone wrote.

The request asked for information about contacts "between or involving the Russian Federation and its officials, agents, intermediaries, and/or instrumentalities" as well as information related to the Trump Organization's work on a construction project in Moscow.

"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 has led the efforts to relitigate the Mueller probe, in March requesting information from dozens of individuals and entities connected to President Trump, including his administration, family members and businesses.

"He wants to drag witnesses up, he wants to hold them in contempt", the official said about Barr.

A spokesman for Nadler did not immediately respond to a request for comment, but earlier on Wednesday, the House Judiciary chairman said "while the courts have held that the president's communications are entitled to some degree of confidentiality, they have consistently held that the privilege is not an absolute shield and can be overcome when the interests of justice require it". The judiciary panel voted to hold the attorney general, William Barr, in contempt of Congress after he defied the committee's subpoena for an unredacted version of the report. Seeking to complete their own report on Russian election interference, Senate Intelligence Committee Chairman Richard Burr risked the wrath of the White House and his Republican party by issuing a subpoena for Donald Jr.

In a later call with reporters, a White House official blamed the stand-off on overreaching by Nadler and the committee's Democrats. The White House counsel urged Nadler to narrow his request. "We will hear from Mueller, we will hear from [former White House counsel Don McGahn]", Nadler said after Cipollone's letter.

Nadler on Wednesday said he didn't know the White House's motives, but he would not allow the White House to try to claim that the President can not be held accountable.

Team Trump says it won't cooperate with House investigations