The documents requested by the Committee relate to everything from the contents of Trump's meetings with Russian President Vladimir Putin to his communications with former White House counsel Donald McGahn, the firing of former White House national security advisor Michael Flynn and former Federal Bureau of Investigation director James Comey, and possible pardons for Trump associates who pleaded guilty to crimes stemming from the probe.
"It would greatly advance the first step in that process if the Committee were to narrow the sweeping scope of the requests in the letter and articulate the legislative goal and legal support for each of the disparate requests it wishes to pursue, including by addressing each of the legal deficiencies that I raise in this letter", he wrote.
"If the committee intends to continue its inquiry", Cipollone wrote, "it would greatly advance that process if the committee were to narrow the scope of the requests".
"Congressional investigations are meant to obtain information to aid in evaluating potential legislation", wrote Cipollone, "not to harass political opponents or to pursue an unauthorized "do-over" of exhaustive law enforcement investigations conducted by the Department of Justice".
The White House letter escalates a standoff between the president and the Democratic-controlled House that Speaker Nancy Pelosi has described as a "constitutional crisis". Earlier this spring, Nadler requested documents from 81 Trump allies or Trump-related entities as part of an extensive investigation into whether Trump abused his power, engaged in corruption or obstructed justice.
Nadler said Trump has gone further than any other president in fighting congressional subpoenas.
And the White House lawyer indicated that he wouldn't play ball. "They say the Justice Department can't hold them accountable since the sitting president cannot be indicted, and now they're saying that Congress cannot hold a president accountable". Jerry Nadler, D-N.Y., requested, they do argue that because the request is so broad it violates all prongs of executive privilege.
Cipollone complained Nadler's committee has been eager to try to publicly tar the White House as uncooperative, pushing to hold officials in contempt, while ignoring the legal flaws in its demands. The committee issued a subpoena for former White House counsel Don McGahn, and the White House instructed McGahn not to provide documents in response.
In the letter, Cipollone did not exert executive privilege over the materials requested by Nadler, but he argued that the White House would be within its right to do so.
Democrats are now considering contempt resolutions against other top administration officials and plan to vote on them, possibly all at once, and perhaps in June.
He added, "The White House also claims it is willing to cooperate with this Committee while at the same time refusing to work with Congress".
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