The White House has sent a 12-page response to the chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, accusing him of over-reach and wanting to re-do the special counsel’s investigation into connections between the Donald Trump campaign and Russia during the 2016 election.
The committee’s chairman, Jerry Nadler, desires to hold a “show trial” for “political theater,” according to a White House senior official.
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 president is not above the law, but he’s also not below the law,” said the White House official during a telephone conference call with reporters.
Nadler termed the letter sent to him from the White House on Wednesday to be “preposterous” and “this is the White House claiming that the president is a king,” an assertion with which officials in the West Wing immediately disagreed.
“The president is not acting in an imperial fashion,” said a White House official, accusing Nadler and other House Democrats of “acting imperiously by setting out demands that they know they have no right to.”
Asked by one reporter if the administration’s response on Wednesday is intended to goad opposition lawmakers into launching impeachment proceedings, the official responded: “You’re channeling your inner Nancy Pelosi there.”
That reply was a reference to the House speaker who has expressed reluctance to launch impeachment hearings because that might play to the president’s advantage during next year’s election.
“Impeachment is a decision for down the road. But we have to get the facts,” Nadler said earlier in the day in an interview with CNBC. “Ultimately, impeachment or not impeachment is a political act. And before you do it, the American people have to support it.”