Friends, it is not reasonable to expect an impeachment investigation of a US president to be anything other than cantankerous and partisan. It’s the nature of the impeachment beast. So the White House’s announcement that it will not cooperate with any aspect of the House investigation – which itself might well end up as an article of impeachment – is hardly a bulletin.
The announcement was contained in a letter from presidential counsel Pat Cipollone to House leaders, including Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi. Like you probably did, we read the letter which, like the Trump Administration itself, is a lot of blather and nothing of any particular substance. The letter does not cite legal precedent – because it can’t – or even any logical argument.
The letter whines about the House not taking a vote before proceeding with the investigation stating, in part:
…you have denied the President 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.
True enough, but so what? The House is not required to provide any of these things, the Constitution allowing the House to go about its impeachment business however it sees fit. The House is conducting an impeachment inquiry, not a criminal investigation. The only penalty that can be bestowed following conviction by the United States Senate is civil – removal from office – and not criminal and rights afforded the criminally accused are not required here.
The final paragraph calls the House proceedings constitutionally illegitimate, cites the “many deficiencies” cited and implores the House to abandon its “current invalid efforts”.
The letter does point out that House GOP leaders have not been given the same subpoena power the Democrats have. OK…Two points: 1) they don’t have to provide that and 2) the White House has pledged not to cooperate, so this point is moot.
It is not really surprising the Trump Administration and the American people have been reduced to this because Trump’s presidency has been as embarrassing as his candidacy. From Day 1 President Trump has flouted and ignored precedent, protocol and good sense. He has never had a long-term vision for America probably because he’s never had a long-term vision for himself: his only goal is to draw as much attention to himself as possible, something he does supremely well.
You and me – we the people – deserve better than this, of course, but we are not going to get any better until we start demanding it on Election Day.
Thank you for reading,