“There is no legal basis for Trump’s position. Hard stop.”
President Donald Trump and his administration will not participate in the Congressional impeachment inquiry, the White House announced Tuesday, setting up a constitutional crisis in the conflict between two ostensibly co-equal branches of government.
“But seriously folks this is actually a constitutional crisis.”
—Leah Greenberg, Indivisible
“There is no legal basis for Trump’s position,” tweeted NBC analyst Katie Phang. “Hard stop.”
“The Trump administration’s flat refusal to cooperate with congressional oversight is, itself, impeachable,” tweeted Vox‘s Ezra Klein.
9-page letter just released from the White House claims impeachment inquiry is illegitimate and Trump Administration won’t cooperate or participate in the process.
There is no legal basis for Trump’s position. Hard stop. https://t.co/Sm34aqYTuH
— Katie Phang (@KatiePhang) October 8, 2019
The news sparked a call from Credo Action co-director Heidi Hess for immediate impeachment.
“It’s absolutely outrageous that Donald Trump sent a letter to Congress informing them that he is above the Constitution and every law in America,” said Hess. “House Democrats need to move immediately and use all the power at their disposal to compel testimony and delivery of documents, hold administration officials accountable for their contempt of Congress, and draft articles of impeachment that span all of Trump’s crimes.”
“If Speaker Pelosi and leadership continue to drag their feet, they are giving tacit approval of the ridiculous arguments laid out in the White House counsel’s letter,” Hess added. “We can’t wait any longer.”
White House Press Secretary Stephanie Grisham said in a statement that the administration would not cooperate with the inquiry and seemingly closed the door on any negotiations.
“The Executive Branch cannot be expected to, and will not participate in, this exercise of partisan political theater,” said Grisham.
INBOX: The @WhiteHouse has sent a letter to @SpeakerPelosi, @RepAdamSchiff, @RepCummings & @RepEliotEngel, rejecting their authority to run an impeachment probe without a vote. pic.twitter.com/ysxAieq27S
— Andrew Feinberg (@AndrewFeinberg) October 8, 2019
As NBC reported Tuesday, the inquiry is not baseless:
House Democrats launched the impeachment inquiry last month amid reports of Trump’s July phone conversation with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy, during which he asked Zelenskiy to “look into” former Vice President Joe Biden and his son Hunter. Trump’s decision to unexpectedly freeze nearly $400 million in military aid to the Ukraine days before the call has led to allegations that he was attempting a quid pro quo arrangement.
The letter announcing the administration’s refusal to cooperate was written by the president’s White House counsel Pat Cipollone. Cipollone argued that the impeachment inquiry is a “highly partisan and unconstitutional effort threatens grave and lasting damage to our democratic institutions, to our system of free elections, and to the American people.”
Furthermore, Cipollone writes, the inquiry is “constitutionally invalid and a violation of due process.”
“The President cannot allow your constitutionally illegitimate proceedings to distract him and those in the Executive Branch from their work on behalf of the American people,” the nine-page letter concludes. “The President has a country to lead.”
“This would be funny if it weren’t so delusional.”
Those claims by the White House, however, met with immediate pushback, with Politico journalist Andrew Desiderio pointing out that Cipollone’s letter read “more like a political document than a legal document.”
“This would be funny if it weren’t so delusional,” tweeted progressive group MoveOn in response to the announcement. “The House is completely within its rights to hold impeachment hearings.”
Earlier Tuesday, as Common Dreams reported, the president’s lawyers said that the Watergate case against then-President Richard Nixon was improperly decided and that if the case came before the court today, there would be a “different result.”
“Wow, okay,” said U.S. District Court Judge Beryl Howell. “The department is taking an extraordinary position in this case.”
The strategy was summed up by Washington Post reporter Dave Weigel on Twitter.
“Can’t indict a president for possible wrongdoing while he’s in office; can’t impeach a president over possible wrongdoing because he was elected and therefore ‘no backsies,'” tweeted Weigel. “Real moral hazard hours.”
Indivisible’s Leah Greenberg laid out the stakes.
“But seriously folks this is actually a constitutional crisis,” said Greenberg.
Trump ‘facing a rapid decline’ as he wallows in ‘rage and denial’ over election loss: report
President Donald Trump's mental health since losing the 2020 presidential election was the focus of a new analysis by New York Times chief White House correspondent Peter Baker that was published online Saturday.
"Over the past week, President Trump posted or reposted more than 130 messages on Twitter lashing out at the results of an election he lost. He mentioned the coronavirus pandemic now reaching its darkest hours four times — and even then just to assert that he was right about the outbreak and the experts were wrong," Baker reported under the headline, "Trump’s Final Days of Rage and Denial."
Will we ever know how much money Trump and his family squeezed out of his presidency?
Welcome to another edition of What Fresh Hell?, Raw Story’s roundup of news items that might have become controversies under another regime, but got buried – or were at least under-appreciated – due to the daily firehose of political pratfalls, unhinged tweet storms and other sundry embarrassments coming out of the current White House.
Four years ago, a victorious Donald Trump insisted that he had only lost the popular vote due to widespread fraud while raising tens of millions of dollars for his inauguration. Now, as his baseless, often goofy lawsuits get laughed out of courtroom after courtroom, a defeated Trump and his allies are raising tens of millions of dollars from his easily-enraged MAGA base to "stop the steal." And the lion's share of the $207 million Trump has raised since the election hasn't been spent on his legal campaign, but will instead fund his new political slush fund, among other things.
Trump’s ‘stupid’ call to Kemp ‘bordered on criminality’: Ex-Senate leader Harry Reid
On CNN Saturday, former Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) tore into President Donald Trump for his phone call demanding the governor of Georgia convene the legislature to overturn the election.
"Trump is out of touch with reality," said Reid. "The Republican secretary of state in Georgia has been very strong. Georgia is a state that is not going to allow this foolishness to continue. They had an election. They've proved it. They certified it. And I think that Trump is wasting his time. Georgia is not going to have its reputation ruined by some stupid damn thing that Trump is trying to do that is outside the realm of reality."