Yesterday, White House Counsel Pat Cipollone responded to the Democrats' efforts to subpoena information from the White House and Executive Branch officials, categorically rejecting their "constitutionally illegitimate proceedings." He notes that the Democrats are not allowing basic due process protections that the Supreme Court has declared must apply to congressional investigations:
To comply with the Constitution's demands, appropriate procedures would include--at a minimum--the right to see all evidence, to present evidence, to call witnesses, to have counsel present at all hearings, to cross-examine all witnesses, to make objections relating to the examination of witnesses or the admissibility of testimony and evidence, and to respond to evidence and testimony. Likewise, the Committees must provide for the disclosure of all evidence favorable to the President and all evidence bearing on the credibility of witnesses called to testify in the inquiry. The Committees' current procedures provide none of these basic constitutional rights.
Not only have the House Democrats' refused due process protections, they have threatened Executive Branch officials for exercising constitutional rights (footnotes omitted; emphasis in original):
As if denying the President basic procedural protections were not enough, the Committees have also resorted to threats and intimidation against potential Executive Branch witnesses. Threats by the Committees against Executive Branch witnesses who assert common and longstanding rights destroy the integrity of the process and brazenly violate fundamental due process. In letters to State Department employees, the Committees have ominously threatened -- without any legal basis and before the Committees even issued a subpoena -- that "[a]ny failure to appear" in response to a mere letter request for a deposition "shall constitute evidence of obstruction." Worse, the Committees have broadly threatened that if State Department officials attempt to insist upon the right for the Department to have an agency lawyer present at depositions to protect legitimate Executive Branch confidentiality interests-or apparently if they make any effort to protect those confidentiality interests at all--these officials will have their salaries withheld.
Mr. Cipollone also described how the basis for the impeachment inquiry rests in the Democrats' ongoing efforts to overturn the results of the 2016 election and their current fears over losing the 2020 election also (footnotes omitted):
The effort to impeach President Trump--without regard to any evidence of his actions in office--is a naked political strategy that began the day he was inaugurated, and perhaps even before. In fact, your transparent rush to judgment, lack of democratically accountable authorization, and violation of basic rights in the current proceedings make clear the illegitimate, partisan purpose of this purported "impeachment inquiry." The Founders, however, did not create the extraordinary mechanism of impeachment so it could be used by a political party that feared for its prospects against the sitting President in the next election. The decision as to who will be elected President in 2020 should rest with the people of the United States, exactly where the Constitution places it. . . .
Unfortunately, the President's political opponents now seem eager to transform impeachment from an extraordinary remedy that should rarely be contemplated into a conventional political weapon to be deployed for partisan gain. These actions are a far cry from what our Founders envisioned when they vested Congress with the "important trust" of considering impeachment. Precisely because it nullifies the outcome of the democratic process, impeachment of the President is fraught with the risk of deepening divisions in the country and creating long-lasting rifts in the body politic. Unfortunately, you are now playing out exactly the partisan rush to judgment that the Founders so strongly warned against. The American people deserve much better than this.
Due to all of the reasons outlined in his letter, Mr. Cipollone concludes that: "President Trump cannot permit his Administration to participate in this partisan inquiry under these circumstances." President Trump has shown his willingness to be transparent, but Democrats do not appear to be interested in a real investigation to find the truth, as Rep. Jim Jordan said:
President Trump displayed unprecedented transparency by releasing a transcript of his call with a foreign leader. However, the Democrats’ impeachment push is shrouded in secrecy. Americans deserve more. Americans deserve to know exactly how Democrats are misusing their authority to undo the results of the 2016 election.
But as demonstrated by Mr. Cipollone's letter, President Trump is going to stand up for the constitutional role of the Executive Branch (which, of course, Democrats were vocally championing until January 2017) and fight the House Democrats in their efforts to deny basic due process rights, overturn the results of the 2016 election, and use impeachment as a partisan political tool.