Trump escalates resistance to House probes, refuses to comply with requests

Cheryl Sanders
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.

Rep. Jerry Nadler said Wednesday that the House Judiciary Committee's investigations into President Donald Trump's possible obstruction of justice and other abuses of power will continue after the White House "made the extraordinary demand" that Democrats stop their inquiries.

A senior White House official also said that the administration expects Nadler to conclude that Mr. Trump obstructed justice, regardless of the special counsel's investigation.

"The appropriate course", the White House counsel told Nadler, is for the committee "to discontinue the inquiry".

Nadler termed the letter sent to him from the White House on Wednesday to be "preposterous" and "this is the White House claiming that the president is a king", an assertion with which officials in the West Wing immediately disagreed.

The refusal by the White House was the latest episode in a series of tussles between House Democrats and the Trump administration, which has argued that a series of investigations into the president's behaviors and personal finances are politically motivated and legally unjustified.

"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. "This is all just continuing ongoing obstruction of justice". Mr. Nadler demanded information from 81 persons or entities, largely going over ground that the special counsel's investigation covered.

Nadler said Trump has gone further than any other president in fighting congressional subpoenas. McGahn has not confirmed his attendance at the House Judiciary Committee's May 21 hearing, and Trump has indicated he will assert executive privilege to resist Democrats seeking materials or testimony related to Russian meddling and alleged collusion.

The move by the White House to stonewall Democrats' demands, coupled with Democrats' threats to impose fines and possibly jail officials held in contempt of Congress, further escalated the ongoing feud between the two parties.

White House-connected people who received requests from the committee include former White House counsel Donald McGahn, former adviser Stephen K. Bannon, former communications chief Hope Hicks and former chief of staff Reince Priebus and current adviser Jared Kushner, Trump's son-in-law. Instead, he told Nadler he would consider a narrowed request if the chairman spells out the legislative goal and legal support for the information he is seeking.

"We will subpoena whoever we have to subpoena", the New York Democrat said, adding that individuals who do not comply will be held in contempt of Congress.

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.

Other reports by iNewsToday