In a Tuesday letter to leading Democrats in the US House of Representatives, Pat A. Cipollone, White House counsel, pledged noncompliance with their "numerous, legally unsupported demands," which he argued violate "fundamental fairness and constitutionally mandated due process."
Cipollone claims the Democrats are violating Trump's civil rights by denying him "the right to cross-examine witnesses, to call witnesses, to receive transcripts of testimony, to have access to evidence, to have counsel present, and many other basic rights guaranteed to all Americans," and threatened to do so to other Executive Branch officials" who exercise fundamental constitutional rights and prerogatives."
The letter was sent to Reps. Nancy Pelosi (D-CA), who leads the House as speaker; Eliot Engel (D-NY), chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee; Adam Schiff (D-CA), chairman of the the House Intelligence Committee; and Elijah Cummings (D-MD), chairman of the House Oversight and Reform Committee, with carbon copies sent to leading House Republicans.
"Put simply, you seek to overturn the results of the 2016 election and deprive the American people of the President they have freely chosen. Many Democrats now apparently view impeachment not only as a means to undo the democratic results of the last election, but as a strategy to influence the next election, which is barely more than a year away," the White House counsel wrote. "For the foregoing reasons, 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."
Subpoenas were sent to the Office of the President and of the Vice President earlier this week, seeking documents in connection with the impeachment probe. House Democrats opened the probe late last month in order to investigate Trump's July phone call with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, his proposed cooperation on a probe into former Vice-President Joe Biden - now a leading Democratic candidate and potential rival for Trump in 2020 - as well as an attempted hush-up of a whistleblower report about that call.
A statement from White House Press Secretary Stephanie Grisham quickly followed Cipollone's letter, in which she reiterated that the probe is being pursued "for purely political reasons."
"The President has done nothing wrong, and the Democrats know it," Grisham said. "The Executive Branch cannot be expected to, and will not participate in, this exercise of partisan political theater. President Trump and his entire Administration will, however, keep fighting for the American people, growing the economy, building prosperity, and protecting America’s interests at home and abroad."