White House rejects Democrats' request for documents in obstruction probe

No ‘do-over’ on Mueller probe, White House lawyer tells House panel, saying demands for records, staff testimony will be refused

White House rejects Democrats' request for documents in obstruction probe

The Justice Department bars indictments of sitting presidents and Mueller's report made clear that the special counsel felt that the policy prevented him from saying definitively whether Trump's attacks on the investigation amounted to criminal obstruction.

The White House flatly rejected the House Judiciary Committee's request for documents in its sweeping investigation into possible obstruction of justice, the latest escalation of tension in the battle between President Donald Trump's administration and the Democratic House conducting oversight of the Executive Branch.

The response from White House lawyer Pat Cipollone calls on committee Chairman Nadler to narrow his request for documents that the president's team contends are protected by executive privilege.

The third rationale is that the Judiciary Committee's inquiry is purely political and it has no "legitimate legislative purpose" to its inquiries into the Muller Report and is conducting "a pseudo law enforcement investigation" that is "outside the constitutional authority of the legislative branch".

"The appropriate course is for the Committee to discontinue the inquiry", Cipollone wrote to the panel's chairman, Jerrold Nadler, D-N.Y.

"This is the White House claiming the president is a king", Nadler fumed to CNN once contents of the letter were made public. Instead, he accused Nadler and his Democratic colleagues of attempting to conduct a "do-over" Russian Federation investigation by subpoenaing witnesses and documents, including the unredacted Mueller report, and holding administration officials in contempt-an accusation that Nadler pushed back on just minutes later to reporters off the House floor.

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"Congressional investigations are meant to obtain information to aid in evaluating potential legislation, not to harass political opponents or to pursue an unauthorized "do-over" of exhaustive law enforcement investigations conducted by the Department of Justice", Cipollone said in his 12-page letter to Nadler. Mr. Nadler demanded information from 81 persons or entities, largely going over ground that the special counsel's investigation covered.

Trump has sued to block a congressional subpoena for financial records from his accounting firm, while the White House has directed McGahn not to cooperate with a Judiciary Committee subpoena for records. Instead, he told Nadler he would consider a narrowed request if the chairman spells out the legislative objective and legal support for the information he is seeking.

"He wants to drag witnesses up, he wants to hold them in contempt", the official said about Barr. That includes the country's top law enforcement official, Attorney General William Barr, who was cited for contempt by the committee last week for refusing to turn over the subpoenaed unredacted Mueller report and underlying evidence.

In addition, the committee is seeking documents aimed at probing whether Trump has used the White House to enrich himself in violation of the Constitution's emoluments clause. The Justice Department did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Rep. Jerry Nadler (D-NY) has been making headlines amid the controversial Russian Federation probe, but here are some things you might not have known about the Chairman of the House Judiciary Committee.

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