The White House has rejected the request from the House Judiciary Committee for documents from 81 individuals and entities affiliated with the Trump administration, ABC reports. Pat Cipollone, White House Counsel, called the investigative efforts of the committee a “do-over” of the DOJ investigations into President Trump.
In early March, House Judiciary Chairman, Jerrold Nadler, requested documents and records from Trump campaign officials, White House aides, and Trump family members as part of the committee’s ongoing investigation into alleged obstruction of justice, public corruption, and other abuses of power by President Trump and his associates. Some of the individuals included in the committee’s request for documents are Jared Kushner, Steve Bannon, Reince Priebus, Don McGahn, and Hope Hicks, according to the Washington Post.
White House counsel, Pat Cipollone, stated in a letter that “the White House will not participate in the Committee’s ‘investigation’ that brushes aside the conclusions of the Department of Justice after a two-year-long effort in favor of political theater pre-ordained to reach a preconceived and false result”.
Questioning the Congress’ right to investigate and repeating the Trump administration argument against Congressional oversight, Cipollone wrote, “Congressional investigations are intended to obtain information to aid in evaluating potential legislation, not to harass political opponents or to pursue an unauthorized ‘do-over’ of exhaustive law enforcement investigations conducted by the Department of Justice.”
Stopping short of claiming executive privilege, he said he would consider a narrowed request with explanations for legal support and the legislative purposes for each of the requests.
Cipollone’s letter continued, “The appropriate course is for the Committee to discontinue the inquiry. Unfortunately, it appears that you have already decided to press ahead with a duplicative investigation, including by issuing subpoenas, to replow the same ground the Special Counsel has already covered.”
He stressed that the exhaustive Mueller probe and resulting report has made the committee’s inquiry a moot point.
In the House Judiciary Committee hearing on executive privilege this morning, Nadler pointed out in his opening statement that Congress’ power of inquiry is essential to our Constitutional order. He said, “While the courts have held that the president’s communications are entitled to some degree of confidentiality, they have held that the privilege is not an absolute shield and can be overcome when the interests of justice require it.”
Nadler said that President Trump’s plan to “fight all the subpoenas” seeks to hold himself above the law and announces his hostility to our system of checks and balances. He continued, “By this administrations command, the White House has attempted to impede over 20 Congressional investigations.”