Targeted by impeachment proceedings, he refuses to cooperate in the investigation of Democratic parliamentarians. “An illegal attempt to conceal the facts,” responded the opposition.
After several days of procrastination, Donald Trump chose the open war with Congress: the White House announced that it refused to cooperate with the ongoing investigation for a possible impeachment procedure.
The central argument of the US executive: the investigations conducted by the Democratic representatives of the House of Representatives on the Ukrainian case are neither legitimate nor impartial.
The reaction of the leader of the Democrats in Congress was not long, Nancy Pelosi denouncing, in a statement, a refusal that is “only the last attempt” of the White House “to hide his betrayal of our democracy” .
— Nancy Pelosi (@SpeakerPelosi) October 9, 2019
It’s simply “another attempt to hide the facts about the shameless efforts of the Trump administration to pressure foreign powers to interfere in the 2020 elections,” she said.
“Partisan and unconstitutional investigation”
Pat Cipollone, counsel for the presidency, sent a letter to Ms Pelosi a few hours earlier.
“Simply put, you are trying to cancel the results of the 2016 election and deprive the Americans of the president they freely chose.”
Among the executive’s grievances, Mr Cipollone highlights the lack of a formal vote in the House to trigger this process.
“Under these circumstances, President Trump and his administration can not participate in your partisan and unconstitutional investigation,” he wrote in this eight-page letter.
Democrats want to determine how the US president has pressured his Ukrainian counterpart Volodymyr Zelensky during a phone call to seek compromising information on his rival Joe Biden. Donald Trump believes that this call was “perfect”.
Preventing Congress from moving forward in its investigation could be a hindrance to justice, they say, pointing out that this was one of the three reasons for dismissing President Richard Nixon in 1974, prior to his resignation.
Expressing support for Donald Trump’s strategy of confronting Mitch McConnell, the Republican majority leader in the Senate, said the House had “not followed the same basic procedures that it had respected for all other presidents “.
The long-awaited lawyer’s letter was sent to Congress a few hours after the announcement of the decision to prevent the United States ambassador to the European Union from testifying before the elected officials.
Coming from Brussels to voluntarily participate in the hearing, Mr Sondland was informed in the middle of the night by the State Department that he was not to attend.
Mr Trump justified this arbitration by calling the congressional hearings “bogus court”.
“An abuse of power,” said Pelosi, who made the shock announcement in late September of the opening of the investigation for an impeachment.
“President Trump must stop obstructing the Congress,” said Democratic candidate Joe Biden, with the image tainted by this Ukrainian affair.
By banning Ambassador Gordon Sondland, “key player” in the Ukrainian case, from testifying, the White House is still trying to “curb and hinder the investigation,” indignantly criticized the Democratic leaders of investigations.
They sent him an injunction on Tuesday demanding that he testify on October 16 and presents documents that the State Department refuses to deliver.
A “scary” call
A wealthy businessman in the hotel industry, Mr Sondland helped finance the campaign and the inauguration ceremony of Donald Trump, whom he became close to.
He participated this year in SMS exchanges between diplomats who are now at the heart of the Ukrainian case.
It is by a mysterious whistleblower that the whole affair has gone back to Congress. A member of the intelligence services, he had ruled that with this appeal, Mr Trump had “solicited the interference” of Ukraine in the campaign for his re-election.
Not having attended the call, he relied on the testimonies of those present, including a “visibly shocked” White House official who described a “crazy” and “scary” exchange of information. after excerpts from the first notes of the whistleblower, published by US media on Tuesday.
Giuliani invited to the Senate
“We know that Ambassador Sondland has been a key player in efforts to get Ukraine’s commitment to investigate a fallacious conspiracy theory regarding the 2016 (presidential) election and Joe Biden and his son” Hunter, said Adam Schiff, chairman of the Intelligence Committee in the House.
Democrats hope to hear Friday the former ambassador of the United States in Kiev, Marie Yovanovitch, that Donald Trump had criticized during the appeal.
Sign of the Republican counterattack, Lindsey Graham, a great ally of the Senate Speaker, announced Tuesday that he intended to invite Donald Trump’s personal lawyer, the eccentric Rudy Giuliani, to testify on alleged “corruption” cases. ” in Ukraine.
Understand: The Republicans now plan to give a solemn platform to the suspicions that the lawyer spreads for months on the Biden.