The phone call that started the impeachment inquiry was Donald Trump’s call to Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelensky. Apparently, the call was so “crazy, frightening and completely lacking in substance related to national security” that the whistleblower described a witness to the call as “visibly shaken by what had transpired.” It was utterly clear to everyone on the call that “the president had clearly committed a criminal act by urging a foreign power to investigate a U.S. person for the purposes of advancing his own re-election bid in 2020.”
But, you know, according to Trump, the call was perfect. The US ambassador to the EU, Gordon Sondland, was one of Trump’s guys trying to organize all of the crimes in and around Ukraine. Sondland was set to testify before House committees yesterday, and he had already flown into Washington for the testimony. But then Mike Pompeo shut him down, and the White House tried to shut everything down. After that, the White House sent out a truly bonkers letter to the House of Representatives that boiled down to “how dare you try to investigate anything.”
The White House declared war on the House impeachment inquiry on Tuesday, announcing that it would not cooperate with what it called an illegitimate effort “to overturn the results of the 2016 election” and setting the stage for a constitutional clash with far-reaching consequences.
In a letter to House Democratic leaders, the White House said the inquiry had violated precedent and denied President Trump’s due process rights in such an egregious way that neither he nor the executive branch would willingly provide testimony or documents.
“Your unprecedented actions have left the president with no choice,” said the letter signed by Pat A. Cipollone, the White House counsel. “In order to fulfill his duties to the American people, the Constitution, the executive branch and all future occupants of the office of the presidency, President Trump and his administration cannot participate in your partisan and unconstitutional inquiry under these circumstances.”
But in refusing to cooperate with what Mr. Trump on Tuesday called a “kangaroo court,” the president risked ensuring the very outcome he would rather avoid. House Democrats made clear that his failure to comply with their demands for information could form the basis for its own article of impeachment.
[From The NY Times]
In case you’re interested in reading the entire crazy letter, go here to NBC News. I only got through the first page of whining about how Dems are trying to “overturn the 2016 election.” The election where Russia interfered on behalf of Trump you mean? So Speaker Nancy Pelosi released a brief statement about Trump’s obstruction of justice (which would be a new count in the impeachment):
“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.”
[From Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s site]
Yeah. As I said, obstruction of the impeachment inquiry IS an impeachable offense all on its own. And what I keep thinking about is how two weeks ago, Trump released the sort-of transcript of the phone call because he thought it would exonerate him… so how bad is everything else that he KNOWS it’s bad? Sondland must have tons of dirt on him. The State Department is clearly holding mountains of evidence of Trump’s misdeeds and crimes.
Also… Matt Gaetz thinks “kangaroo court” has something to do with “Malicious Captain Kangaroo.” The darkest timeline.
Matt Gaetz: "What we see in this impeachment is a kangaroo court and Chairman Schiff is acting like a malicious Captain Kangaroo." pic.twitter.com/QQPaj8sR0p
— The Washington Post (@washingtonpost) October 8, 2019
Photos courtesy of Avalon Red and Backgrid.