White House will not cooperate with impeachment probe

The White House officially refused to co-operate with the impeachment inquiry against President Donald Trump. In a letter sent to Democratic leaders the White House the inquiry “baseless” and “constitutionally invalid”.

Three Democratic-led House committees are investigating President Trump. The inquiry is trying to find out if the president held back aid to Ukraine to push it to investigate Joe Biden, who is running for the Democratic presidential nomination.

The White House letter comes hours after the Trump administration blocked the US ambassador to the European Union from appearing before a congressional impeachment investigation.

The White House counsel Pat Cipollone addressed an eight-page letter to the leading Democrat and House Speaker, Nancy Pelosi, and the three chairmen of the Democratic committees.

He accused the leaders of setting up an inquiry “that violates fundamental fairness and constitutionally mandated due process” – specifically by not holding a vote on launching the inquiry.

The letter accuses Democrats of trying to change the 2016 election result, and attacks the investigation as “constitutionally invalid and a violation of due process”.

“In order to fulfil his duties to the American people… President Trump and his Administration cannot participate in your partisan and unconstitutional inquiry under these circumstances.”

In response, House Speaker, Nancy Pelosi called the letter “manifestly wrong” and accused Mr Trump of trying to “normalise lawlessness”.

“Mr President, you are not above the law. You will be held accountable.”

What triggered the Impeachment Inquiry?

The Democratic-led inquiry is seeking to find out if the president withheld nearly $400m in aid to pressure Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelensky to set up an inquiry into former Vice President Joe Biden.

Hunter, Biden’s son, once sat on the board of a Ukrainian energy company. President Trump and his supporters believe Joe Biden used his position as vice president to force Ukraine to drop a probe into the company that could have implicated his son in wrongdoing.

These claims have been widely discredited.

In a phone call on 25th July, President Trump asked Ukraine’s Zelensky to scrutinise Biden. But a US whistleblower raised concerns about the phone call. Shortly afterwards Ms Pelosi announced a formal impeachment investigation.

On Tuesday, a lawyer for the House told a federal judge that the impeachment investigation may extend beyond Ukraine to include alleged obstruction of justice by the President.

The Democrats are currently fighting the Justice Department for access to the unredacted Mueller report into allegations of collusion between the 2016 Trump campaign and Russia as a part of this obstruction inquiry.

Source : Various