The Trump White House told the House Judiciary Committee to “discontinue” its investigations into the president’s alleged abuses of power, labeling them “an unauthorized ‘do-over’” of special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation.
“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,” White House counsel Pat Cipollone wrote to the committee on Wednesday.
The letter went on to state that President Donald Trump and his White House will not comply with requests from the committee for its investigations. It further directed the 81 recipients of letters from the committee — including government agencies, Trump campaign entities and current and former Trump administration and campaign officials — not to comply with requests for documents.
Rather than invoke executive privilege to block access, the letter says, the president will simply refuse to cooperate with congressional oversight and investigations he views as illegitimate.
This posture reflects recent moves by Trump and his lawyers to put up massive resistance to congressional investigations. Trump publicly announced an unprecedented blanket stonewalling of Congress when he stated he would fight “all the subpoenas.” Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin failed to comply with tax law when he declined to hand over Trump’s tax returns. And, in a federal court on Tuesday, lawyers for Trump and his family business argued that the president is essentially immune from investigation.
In each case, including Cipollone’s latest letter, Trump’s lawyers argue that the congressional inquiry does not have a legitimate legislative purpose and instead constitutes a “pseudo law enforcement investigation.” Congress is technically not supposed to conduct law enforcement investigations but is constitutionally granted wide latitude in providing oversight of the executive branch and the actions of the president.
Trump’s lawyers are “claiming that the president is a king,” House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerrold Nadler (D-N.Y.) told reporters in response to Cipollone’s letter on Wednesday.
“This flies in the face of the American idea that no one is above the law, and I reject it,” Nadler later said in a statement. “Our investigation into this as well as other troubling conduct by this Administration will continue.”
Read White House Counsel Pat Cipollone’s letter to the House Judiciary Committee below: