Earlier this week, White House counsel Pat Cipollone sent an eight-page letter to the House impeachment committee on behalf of President Donald Trump in which he stated that the investigation which may well lead to articles of impeachment being filed against Trump is “invalid.” The letter also had these lines in it:
“You seek to overturn the results of the 2016 election and deprive the American people of the President they have freely chosen. The President cannot allow your constitutionally illegitimate proceedings to distract him and those in the Executive Branch.”
The bottom line of the letter was that the administration will refuse to cooperate with the impeachment inquiry. They will not provide documents or witnesses, even when subpoenaed. But as the Washington Post noted in an editorial:
“The president does not get to decide which congressional actions are legitimate and, therefore, which congressional commands he accepts.”
If there was any doubt that the White House would live up their bluster, it was proven when they refused to allow European Union ambassador Gordon Sondland to give a deposition to House committees.
But the tables are going to turn on Friday, when Marie Yovanovitch, the former ambassador to Ukraine, gives a deposition as part of the impeachment inquiry because it appears the administration cannot possibly block her testimony:
“Yovanovitch and her lawyer are ‘on board,’ according to a senior congressional aide, who like others spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss sensitive negotiations. Yet House Democrats are preparing backup options to facilitate her testimony — including issuing a possible ‘friendly’ subpoena, according to two people involved in the investigation — in case the State Department forbids her from speaking to lawmakers.”
And there may well be another witness who can shed light on the Ukraine scandal: Fiona Hill, who served as Russia adviser to the president. Hill is scheduled to appear before the House Intelligence, Foreign Affairs, and Oversight and Reform committees on October 14.
Hill may also be eager to testify, but it remains unclear if the White House will try to block her from appearing next week.
Yovanovitch, however, has every incentive to show up on Friday, especially since the administration is desperately trying to slag her and blame the entire Ukraine scandal on her and others.
The impeachment of Donald Trump is moving forward quickly, despite his stonewalling and petulant letters from his attorneys. With 51 percent of Americans saying they want Trump removed from office, it certainly appears like Trump is on his way out. And with the news bringing new revelations each day, the walls are moving in on this president.