Ensnarled in an impeachment probe over his request for Ukraine to investigate former Vice President Joe Biden, President Donald Trump is now calling on another nation to do the same: China. There is no evidence of any wrongdoing by the Bidens. (Oct. 3) AP, AP
WASHINGTON – President Donald Trump and aides plan to tell House Speaker Nancy Pelosi that they will not cooperate with the ongoing impeachment inquiry until the full House votes to authorize it, officials said Friday.
Democrats have said that Trump’s refusal to answer subpoenas and provide documents could constitute an impeachable offense in and of itself as they investigate the president’s dealings with Ukraine.
Even so, the White House is preparing a letter of objection to Pelosi that could be sent on Friday, said two officials who spoke on condition of anonymity because it has not yet been released.
White House officials said they want a full House vote on authorizing the impeachment inquiry that Pelosi herself announced last week.
The administration’s letter to Pelosi is expected to echo a request sent earlier this week by House Republican leader Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif.
Criticizing “the swiftness and recklessness” of the impeachment drive, McCarthy asked Pelosi if Republicans would be let into the process and if administration lawyers could cross-examine witnesses.
“Unfortunately, you have given no clear indication as to how your impeachment inquiry will proceed – including whether key historical precedents or basic standards of due process will be observed,” McCarthy said in his letter.
In replying to McCarthy, Pelosi said the majority is proceeding under authority it already has.
“There is no requirement under the Constitution, under House Rules, or House precedent that the whole House vote before proceeding with an impeachment inquiry,” Pelosi said in a letter to the House Republican leader.
Trump’s China comments: Democrats see echoes of Russia in Trump’s call for China to investigate Joe Biden
The impeachment investigation centers on Trump’s request to Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky to have his government investigate U.S. political rival Joe Biden, a Democratic presidential candidate. Investigators are also looking at whether Trump held up aid to Ukraine until it agreed to investigate Biden and his son, who had business interests in the country.
On Thursday night, a group of House committee chairmen released text messages from diplomats describing an effort to lobby Zelensky into a public pledge to investigate Biden in exchange for the nearly $400 million in aid as well as a private meeting with Trump.
In a letter to colleagues, the House chairmen also referenced Trump’s call on Thursday to have China investigate Biden over his son’s business activities in that country.
“This is not normal or acceptable,” the letter said. “It is unethical, unpatriotic, and wrong. American Presidents should never press foreign powers to target their domestic political rivals.”
Trump has denied wrongdoing, and described the impeachment drive as a “coup” designed to drive him from office.
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