US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi has accused President Donald Trump of trying to “cover up” his dealings with Ukraine after the White House said it would not cooperate with an impeachment inquiry against the president.
The House launched its formal impeachment inquiry into Trump late last month over a whistle-blower’s complaint alleging that he had called on Ukraine to investigate former Vice President Joe Biden, a Democratic front-runner in the 2020 election.
In a letter to Democratic congressional leaders on Tuesday, the White House censured the impeachment proceedings against Trump as “partisan,” and “unconstitutional,” describing the investigation as an effort to “overturn the results of the 2016 election.”
Pelosi issued a statement later on Tuesday, saying, “For a while, the President has tried to normalize lawlessness. Now, he is trying to make lawlessness a virtue.”
“The White House letter is only the latest attempt to cover up his betrayal of our democracy, and to insist that the President is above the law,” she added.
White House counsel Pat Cipollone accused House Democrats in the eight-page letter of making “legally unsupported demands,” and stressed that their unprecedented actions “have left Trump with no choice.”
“Given that your inquiry lacks any legitimate constitutional foundation, any pretense of fairness, or even the most elementary due process protections, the Executive Branch cannot be expected to participate in it,” Cipollone wrote. “Because participating in this inquiry under the current unconstitutional posture would inflict lasting institutional harm on the Executive Branch and lasting damage to the separation of powers, you have left the President no choice.”
Pelosi said that the letter is obviously “wrong,” describing it as “simply another unlawful attempt to hide the facts of the Trump Administration’s brazen efforts to pressure foreign powers to intervene in the 2020 elections.”
In spite of the White House trying to stonewall the impeachment process, Pelosi said, there is “a growing body of evidence” proving that Trump “abused his office and violated his oath to ‘protect, preserve and defend the Constitution.”
Top Democrats warned that the administration’s failure to comply with their requests could be cited as “obstruction” in future articles of impeachment.
In a July phone call, Trump reportedly urged Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky about eight times to work with his lawyer Rudy Giuliani to investigate government corruption involving the Bidens, warning that he would not give Ukraine the promised military aid in case he refused.
Source: Press TV