House Speaker Nancy Pelosi on Tuesday night issued a direct warning to President Donald, Trump after the White House announced in a defiant letter that it would not comply with the request from House Democrats to turn over internal documents regarding Ukraine as part of their impeachment inquiry.
Pelosi responded to the letter Tuesday, accusing the president of “trying to make lawlessness a virtue.”
Pelosi warned that Trump was not above the law and that continued efforts to hide Trump’s abuse of power would be “regarded as further evidence of obstruction.”
The Speaker wrote:
“For a while, the President has tried to normalize lawlessness. Now, he is trying to make lawlessness a virtue. The American people have already heard the President’s own words – ‘do us a favor, though.’ The President’s actions threaten our national security, violate our Constitution and undermine the integrity of our elections. 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.
“This letter is manifestly wrong, and is 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. Despite the White House’s stonewalling, we see a growing body of evidence that shows that President Trump abused his office and violated his oath to ‘protect, preserve and defend the Constitution.’
“The White House should be warned that continued efforts to hide the truth of the President’s abuse of power from the American people will be regarded as further evidence of obstruction.
“Mr. President, you are not above the law. You will be held accountable.”
The White House argued that in order for the Democrats to make their inquiry valid the House would have to take a number of steps, including holding a full vote to beginning impeachment proceedings, allowing Republicans to issue subpoenas and granting the White House the ability to cross-examine witnesses and have access to evidence.
Of course, Trump’s absurd request is has nothing to do with the constitution. The document merely states broadly that the House “shall have the sole Power of Impeachment” and that “the Senate shall have the sole Power to try all Impeachments.”
But even if the House took those actions, it is unclear whether the White House would then cooperate, said a senior administration official.
“We are avoiding saying there is no way we would ever cooperate,” the official said. “What we have done is explain the flaws under the current circumstances, and how changes could address those flaws and what that might hold for the future, I don’t want to predict now.”
While the administration has refused to cooperate, Democrats have continued to ratchet up their demands. House Democrats on Monday issued a pair of subpoenas to Defense Secretary Mark Esper and the acting director of the Office of Management and Budget, Russell Vought, demanding documents and communications regarding Trump’s decision to suspend U.S. aid to Ukraine.
So far, Democrats have issued six subpoenas as part of the impeachment probe. The others target Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and Trump’s personal lawyer Rudy Giuliani. Democrats have also requested documents from Vice President Mike Pence, but they have not yet issued a subpoena for the material.