Denouncing the impeachment investigation of Democrats in Congress, the top White House lawyer told lawmakers on Tuesday that President Donald Trump will not cooperate with the investigatory efforts of Democrats, charging the President's critics are violating the Constitution in an effort to overturn the 2016 election.
"Your contrived process is unprecedented in the history of the Nation, and lacks the necessary authorization for a valid impeachment proceeding," White House Counsel Pat Cipollone wrote, as Republicans want Democrats to vote first on authorizing an impeachment probe.
"In his “great and unmatched wisdom,” President Trump must know that no one is above the law," Speaker Nancy Pelosi told fellow Democrats on Tuesday, subtly mocking the President for using that phrase to describe himself in a tweet on Monday.
"The President will be held accountable," Pelosi vowed. "When it comes to impeachment, it is just about the facts and the Constitution."
Hours after Mr. Trump refused to let the U.S. Ambassador to the European Union testify on Capitol Hill, critics said the President has done everything possible not to cooperate with a variety of investigations.
“The President and the Secretary of State are taking actions to prevent us from getting the facts,” said Rep. Adam Schiff (D-CA), the Chairman of the House Intelligence Committee.
The President's letter repeatedly complained about how the House is not allowing the White House to question witnesses and more - but lawmakers said that's more of a function of any impeachment trial in the Senate.
"It’s as though the White House is unfamiliar with the difference between impeachment in the House and trial in the Senate," said Rep. Justin Amash of Michigan, who left the GOP to become an Independent after he called for an impeachment investigation.
"It's also as though the White House is unfamiliar with the Constitution, generally," Amash tweeted.
The Trump administration has no intention of cooperating with our "illegitimate" impeachment inquiry?— Earl Blumenauer (@repblumenauer) October 8, 2019
Well, I have no intention of allowing this illegitimate president to trample all over the Constitution. #ImpeachmentInquiryNow
I don't think I'm confused here: The House wants, but does not need, the WH to conduct an impeachment inquiry; and obstruction of an impeachment inquiry is, itself, can be grounds for impeachment. https://t.co/0r8KeIW3f5— Rep. Rick Larsen (@RepRickLarsen) October 8, 2019
The White House letter came hours after the President blocked U.S. Ambassador Gordon Sondland from testifying about diplomatic efforts involving Ukraine, and whether Mr. Trump pressured the government to investigate former Vice President Joe Biden and his son.
A text message written by Sondland on September 9 said the "President has been crystal clear no quid pro quo's of any kind" - a statement cited by Mr. Trump as proof that he had done nothing wrong with Ukraine.
But the President refused to allow Sondland to tell that story to committee investigators and by 6 pm, which earned him a House subpoena, setting a deposition for October 16.
“There is no legitimate reason for the President to deny Congress the opportunity to hear from Ambassador Sondland under oath,” said Rep. James Langevin (D-RI).
“The American people get it,” said Rep. Lacy Clay (D-MO). 'They understand that the president violated his Oath of Office and violated the law.”
A number of Republicans disagreed.
"This is a kangaroo court," said Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-FL). "This entire thing is a political charade, is a clown show."