Rep. Jerry Nadler said Wednesday that the House Judiciary Committee's investigations into President Donald Trump's possible obstruction of justice and other abuses of power will continue after the White House "made the extraordinary demand" that Democrats stop their inquiries.
"We will do no such thing," Nadler, who chairs the Judiciary Committee, said in a statement. "The White House position appears to be that the Justice Department cannot hold the president accountable, since it purportedly cannot indict him."
"The White House position appears to be that the Justice Department cannot hold the president accountable, since it purportedly cannot indict him."
—Rep. Jerry Nadler
"Now it adds the extreme claim that Congress cannot act either, because that would duplicate the special counsel's work," said Nadler. "This flies in the face of the American idea that no one is above the law, and I reject it."
The New York Democrat's statement came after he received a letter from White House Counsel Pat Cipollone, who suggested that Nadler and congressional Democrats are attempting a "do-over" of Special Counsel Robert Mueller's investigation, which uncovered numerous instances of possible obstruction of justice but left it to Congress to decide whether the president committed any crimes.
"Congressional investigations are intended 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."
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"The appropriate course is for the committee to discontinue the inquiry," Cipollone wrote. "Unfortunately, it appears that you have already decided to press ahead with a duplicative investigation, including by issuing subpoenas, to replow the same ground the special counsel has already covered."
As Common Dreams reported last week, the House Judiciary Committee voted along party lines to hold Attorney General William Barr in contempt of Congress after he refused to testify and failed to comply with a subpoena for the full Mueller report and all underlying evidence.
Nadler highlighted the Trump administration's refusal to cooperate with congressional oversight efforts in his statement and vowed to continue exercising the powers of a co-equal branch of government.
"Our investigation into this as well as other troubling conduct by this administration will continue," said Nadler.