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Pelosi hits back at Trump over betrayal to cooperate with impeachment procedures

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Speaker Nancy Pelosi on Tuesday (local time) fired back at President Donald Trump and accused him of trying to "cover-up" his dealings with Ukraine after the White House sent a letter saying it would not cooperate with the House's impeachment inquiry.

"For a while, the President has tried to normalise lawlessness. Now, he is trying to make lawlessness a virtue," Pelosi said in a statement cited by The Hill.

"The White House letter is only the latest attempt to cover up his betrayal of our democracy, and to insist that the President is above the law," the statement read.

The statement came in response to a letter from the White House accusing House Democrats of working to "overturn the results of the 2016 election" and violating the Constitution with "legally unsupported demands" for testimony and documents from several administration officials and Trump affiliates.

"Given that your inquiry lacks any legitimate constitutional foundation, any pretence of fairness, or even the most elementary due process protections, the Executive Branch cannot be expected to participate in it," White House counsel Pat Cipollone wrote.

"Because participating in this inquiry under the current unconstitutional posture would inflict lasting institutional harm on the Executive Branch and lasting damage to the separation of powers, you have left the President no choice," he added.

Last month, Pelosi had announced that the House would launch a formal impeachment inquiry into the President's allegations that he abused his power by pushing the Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelensky to "look into" Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden and his son.

House Democratic committee leaders have also issued subpoenas demanding records and testimony from the White House, Vice President Mike Pence, the Pentagon, and Trump's personal lawyer Rudy Giuliani.

House Democrats have claimed that obstruction of justice over the White House's refusal to comply with the subpoenas could be incorporated into the impeachment investigation, though a senior administration official was quoted as saying that "asserting rights under the Constitution cannot ever properly be framed as obstruction of justice.

(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

First Published: Wed, October 09 2019. 09:39 IST