This is precisely what many of us feared the most; President Trump just telling the Democrats “no” when asked to comply with impeachment-related subpoenas.
This is where this entire process has a very real chance of going Nixon-nuclear. You see, the Democrats preempted Trump’s reluctance by declaring that any “stonewalling” would be considered “obstruction”, and subject to becoming its own article of impeachment if and when The House votes on it.
For his part, President Trump believes that the vote is absolutely necessary in order to cooperate. He relayed this information to the Democratic members of The House in a scathing letter.
“You have designed and implemented your inquiry in a manner that violates fundamental fairness and constitutionally mandated due process,” White House counsel Pat Cipollone wrote in an eight-page letter to Speaker Nancy Pelosi and the chairmen of the committees leading the inquiry.
Cipollone argued the investigation is “invalid” because there has not been a formal vote to open an impeachment inquiry. He said the inquiry clearly seeks “to influence the election of 2020” and has “no legitimate basis.” The letter also condemned Congressman Adam Schiff, the chairman of the House Intelligence Committee and a frequent target of the president.
Of the utmost concern for both sides of this political drama is the element of time.
If the Democrats hold a vote too soon, they run the risk of a swift Senate trial ending in a failure to remove in this Republican-controlled chamber. This would give Trump an enormous feather in his cap heading into 2020 – setting up the potential for a landslide reelection.
But, if the Democrats wait too long, there will any number of scandals, shenanigans, or hijinks to distract the American populace. And without their support, impeachment would be meaningless.