Donald Trump isn’t going to be “participating” in any “witch hunts”.
That, in essence, is the message conveyed to House Democrats in a predictably silly letter from White House Counsel Pat Cipollone delivered on Tuesday.
Cipollone’s 8-page screed (complete with italics, bolded words and a signature scribbled in what, were it digitized, would be something akin to 80-point font) sounds like it could have been written about Trump rather than in defense of him.
“Never before in our history has the House of Representatives-under the control of either political party-taken the American people down the dangerous path you seem determined to pursue”, he writes, unironically, as though virtually every word and deed emanating from the Trump White House doesn’t represent another unprecedented step down any number of “dangerous paths”, not the least of which is the road to authoritarianism.
Incredibly (or not, considering the source), Cipollone parrots Trump’s line about the phone call with President Zelensky of Ukraine being “completely appropriate”.
“The record of the call… clearly established that the call was completely appropriate, that the President did nothing wrong, and that there is no basis for an impeachment inquiry”, he claims.
As ever, the White House is asking Americans to believe that what they read in the transcript of the call isn’t what they actually read, or that contrary to common sense, and, indeed, contrary to what the transcript actually says, Trump did not tell Zelensky that in order for Ukraine to receive military assistance, the country needed to “do us a favor, though”.
Here, for anyone who needs a refresher, is what Cipollone believes constitutes a “completely appropriate” call from the President of the United States to the leader of a foreign country that is reliant on US military aid:
President Zelenskyy: We are ready to continue to cooperate for the next steps. Specifically we are almost ready to buy more Javelins from the United States for defense purposes…
The President: I would like you to do us a favor though because our country has been through a lot and Ukraine knows a lot about it. I would like you to find out what happened with this whole situation with Ukraine, they say Crowdstrike.
President Zelenskyy: Yes it is. very important for me and everything that you just mentioned earlier. For me as a President, it is very important and we are open for any future cooperation…
The President: Good because I heard you had a prosecutor who was very good and he was shut down and that’s really unfair… The former ambassador from the United States, the woman, was bad news and the people she was dealing with in the Ukraine were bad news so I just want to let you know that. The other thing, There’s a lot of talk about Biden’s son.
Sorry, Pat, but that is exactly what it sounds like – a quid pro quo and a disastrous betrayal of the president’s oath of office.
It bears repeating – because this is yet another case of the Trump administration attempting to deny reality and make the public believe that up is down and black is white – that this transcript was released by Trump himself. And you can read it for yourself. It is unequivocal.
And even if it wasn’t, Congress is now in possession of a cache of text messages from EU ambassador Gordon Sondland, former special envoy Kurt Volker and America’s top diplomat in Ukraine, Bill Taylor. The texts are even more damning than the call transcript assuming that’s possible.
Earlier Tuesday, the administration forbid Sondland from speaking to Congress. House Democrats quickly drafted a subpoena, which was served on Tuesday evening. He has until October 14 to turn over all documents requested by the House committees.
Getting back to Cipollone’s letter to Congress, you really need to read it for yourself to appreciate how truly out of touch with reality it is, which is why we’ve embedded it in full below, in keeping with our standard operating procedure of always providing readers with the original documents so the public can decide for itself.
Cipollone insists that Congress’s “unprecedented actions have left the President with no choice” but to refuse to “participate in your partisan and unconstitutional inquiry”.
As you read Cipollone’s letter, keep in mind that just this week, a federal judge in Manhattan marveled at the audacity of Trump’s defense “strategy” in state proceedings which included a subpoena seeking eight years of the president’s tax returns.
“[The president’s position is] repugnant to the nation’s governmental structure and constitutional values”, an incredulous Judge Victor Marrero wrote, in a 75-page ruling.
That position: Trump argued that he “enjoys absolute immunity from criminal process of any kind”.