White House rejects cooperating in Congress 'show trial'

Nellie Chapman
May 18, 2019

Cipollone wrote that the committee does not have the right "to harass political opponents" or conduct an "unauthorized "do-over" of the recently completed probe into Trump led by special counsel Robert Mueller.

The White House has sent a 12-page response to the chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, accusing him of over-reach and wanting to re-do the special counsel's investigation into connections between the Donald Trump campaign and Russian Federation during the 2016 election.

But the White House, in a letter to House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerrold Nadler, said so far most of the requests aren't fair, and he should go back and start again.

Nadler rejected the letter from the White House arguing that the panel's requests for information related to potential abuse of power by the president and his associates serve no legitimate legislative objective.

Cipollone said the appropriate course of action for the committee is to discontinue the inquiry.

In the March 4 request to the White House, Nadler said his committee is "determined to ask critical questions, gather all of the relevant information, judiciously assess the evidence, and present our findings to the American people, whatever those findings may be".

"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", the lawyer said.

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But Cipollone said the inquiry "is designed not to further a legitimate legislative goal, 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". The letters were the opening salvo in the panel's investigation into obstruction of justice and abuses of power, which covers numerous same topics as the Mueller investigation.

"This investigation that Chairman Nadler thinks he's somehow going to replicate has been done and done thoroughly", the White House official said. The Justice Department did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

The senior White House official said the administration remained open to working with Nadler on oversight requests as long as they serve a legitimate legislative objective, but argued Nadler was "brushing aside the conclusions of the Justice Department in favor of political theater". The Judiciary panel voted to hold Attorney General William Barr in contempt of Congress after he defied the committee's subpoena for an unredacted version of the report.

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

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.

Rep. Jerry Nadler (D-NY) has been making headlines amid the controversial Russian Federation probe, but here are some things you might not have known about the Chairman of the House Judiciary Committee.

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.

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