Today, President Trump’s White House Counsel, Pat Cipollone, directed an eight-page letter to Nancy Pelosi, Adam Schiff, et al., declining on behalf of President Trump to participate in the Democrats’ sham impeachment proceeding. The letter, embedded below, is excellent. Some would say, brilliant. It attacks the Democrats’ constitutionally defective and politically motivated proceeding at its root. You should read it all. This is the letter’s introduction:
I write on behalf of President Donald J. Trump in response to your numerous, legally unsupported demands made as part of what you have labeled–contrary to the Constitution of the United States and all past bipartisan precedent–as an “impeachment inquiry.” As you know, you have designed and implemented your inquiry in a ma[nn]er that violates fundamental fairness and constitutionally mandated due process.
For example, you have denied the President the right to cross-examine witnesses, to call witnesses, to receive transcripts of testimony, to have access to evidence, to have counsel present, and many other basic rights guaranteed to all Americans. You have conducted your proceedings in secret. You have violated civil liberties and the separation of powers by threatening Executive Branch officials, claiming that you will seek to punish those who exercise fundamental constitutional rights and prerogatives. All of this violates the Constitution, the rule of law, and every past precedent. Never before in our history has the House of Representatives–under the control of either political party–taken the American people down the dangerous path you seem determined to pursue.
Put simply, you seek to overturn the results of the 2016 election and deprive the American people of the President they have freely chosen. Many Democrats now apparently view impeachment not only as a means to undo the democratic results of the last election, but as a strategy to influence the next election, which is barely more than a year away. As one member of Congress explained, he is “concerned that ifwe don’t impeach the President, he will get reelected.”1 Your highly partisan and unconstitutional effort threatens grave and lasting damage to our democratic institutions, to our system of free elections, and to the American people.
For his part, President Trump took the unprecedented step of providing the public transparency by declassifying and releasing the record of his call with President Zelenskyy of Ukraine. The record clearly established that the call was completely appropriate and that there is no basis for your inquiry. The fact that there was nothing wrong with the call was also powerfully confirmed by Chairman Schiff’s decision to create a false version of the call and read it to the American people at a congressional hearing, without disclosing that he was simply making it all up.
In addition, information has recently come to light that the whistleblower had contact with Chairman Schiff’s office before filing the complaint. His initial denial of such contact caused The Washington Post to conclude that Chairman Schiff “clearly made a statement that was false.”2 In any event, the American people understand that Chairman Schiff cannot covertly assist with the submission of a complaint, mislead the public about his involvement, read a counterfeit version of the call to the American people, and then pretend to sit in judgment as a neutral “investigator.”
For these reasons, President Trump and his Administration reject your baseless, unconstitutional efforts to overturn the democratic process. Your unprecedented actions have left the President with no choice. 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.
Well said! There is lots more good stuff, some of a more technical nature. Here are just a few more paragraphs:
The Committees’ inquity also suffers from a separate, fatal defect. Despite Speaker Pelosi’s commitment to “treat the President with fairness,”6 the Committees have not established any procedures affording the President even the most basic protections demanded by due process under the Constitution and by fundamental fairness. Chairman Nadler of the House Judiciary Committee has expressly acknowledged, at least when the President was a member of his own party, that “[t]he power of impeachment … demands a rigorous level of due process,” and that in this context “due process mean[s] … the right to be informed of the law, of the charges against you, the right to confront the witnesses against you, to call your own witnesses, and to have the assistance of counsel.”7 All of these procedures have been abandoned here.
It is transparent that you have resorted to such unprecedented and unconstitutional procedures because you know that a fair process would expose the lack of any basis for your inquiry. Your current effort is founded on a completely appropriate call on July 25,2019, between President Trump and President Zelenskyy of Ukraine. Without waiting to see what was actually said on the call, a press conference was held announcing an “impeachment inquiry” based on falsehoods and misinformation about the call.21 To rebut those falsehoods, and to provide transparency to the American people, President Trump secured agreement from the Government of Ukraine and took the extraordinary step of declassifying and publicly releasing the record of the call. That record clearly established that the call was completely appropriate, that the President did nothing wrong, and that there is no basis for an impeachment inquiry. At a joint press conference shortly after the call’s public release, President Zelenskyy agreed that the call was appropriate.22 In addition, the Department of Justice announced that officials there had reviewed the call after a referral for an alleged campaign finance law violation and found no such violation.23
Perhaps the best evidence that there was no wrongdoing on the call is the fact that, after the actual record of the call was released, Chairman Schiff chose to concoct a false version of the call and to read his made-up transcript to the American people at a public hearing.24 This powerfully confirms there is no issue with the actual call. Otherwise, why would Chairman Schiff feel the need to make up his own version? The Chairman’s action only further undermines the public’s confidence in the fairness of any inquiry before his Committee.
For the foregoing reasons, the President cannot allow your constitutionally illegitimate proceedings to distract him and those in the Executive Branch from their work on behalf of the American people. The President has a country to lead. The American people elected him to do this job, and he remains focused on fulfilling his promises to the American people. He has important work that he must continue on their behalf, both at home and around the world, including continuing strong economic growth, extending historically low levels of unemployment, negotiating trade deals, fixing our broken immigration system, lowering prescription drug prices, and addressing mass shooting violence. We hope that, in light of the many deficiencies we have identified in your proceedings, you will abandon the current invalid efforts to pursue an impeachment inquiry and join the President in focusing on the many important goals that matter to the American people.
The Democrats won’t do that, of course. They care only about power, and are determined to bully their way back into the White House in 2020.
Finally, a personal note: in 2010, I tried a $200 million case against Pat Cipollone in Denver. He is a good, tough lawyer. I am glad that he is now putting his talents to use on behalf of President Trump as White House Counsel.
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