White House Counsel Pat Cipollone's response last week to House Democratic subpoenas in the impeachment inquiry of President Donald Trump "will go down in history as the definitive document defeating an attempted coup," former U.S. attorney Joseph diGenova said Tuesday.
"By refusing to let the full House vote to begin an impeachment inquiry, and instead leaving control of the process in the hands of committee chairmen, Cipollone contends the impeachment is grossly unconstitutional," 74, who served in the Reagan administration, said in an op-ed in The Daily Caller.
"The executive branch will not give it a veneer of legitimacy by participating to any greater extent than the law requires."
Cipollone, who succeeded Don McGahn last year, wrote an eight-page response to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., and House committee chairs after the White House received subpoenas for documents and for staffers for depositions.
Cipollone refutes any Democratic comparisons of the White House's noncooperation with Richard Nixon's refusal to comply with a federal court subpoena during Watergate, diGenova argued.
In Nixon's case, Cipollone contended that the U.S. Supreme Court "explicitly recognized the very real existence of executive privilege to 'protect military, diplomatic, or sensitive national security secrets,'" diGenova said.
"Cipollone's letter does no more than assert that employees are not to waive that privilege without express permission, even if they receive a threatening letter from Adam Schiff," he said.
Therefore, since "Democrats have refused to put any kind of impeachment resolution to a vote," diGenova concluded, they have left "their 'impeachment inquiry' in a state of constitutional limbo that amounts to business as usual with a stern press conference in which no questions from the obedient media were taken.
"They have blocked any means by which a fair inquiry could be had."
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