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White House rejects Nadler's demands in obstruction probe

President Trump aboard Air Force One (Official White House Photo by Shealah Craighead)

Calling the Democratic-led House Judiciary Committee’s probe of alleged obstruction of justice and abuses of power by the president an “unauthorized do-over” of the Mueller investigation, the White House on Wednesday rejected panel chairman Jerrold Nadler’s requests for documents.

White House counsel Pat Cipollone, calling on Nadler to “discontinue” his inquiry, argued in a letter that congressional investigations “are intended to obtain information to aid in evaluating potential legislation, not to harass political opponents or to pursue an unauthorized ‘do-over’ of exhaustive law enforcement investigations conducted by the Department of Justice.”

He cited Mueller’s 448-page report, which did not refer obstruction charges and found the Trump campaign did not conclude with Russia to win the 2016 presidential election.

Cipollone said he is open, however, to any requests from the committee for which it can provide legal support and a legislative purpose.

“The appropriate course,” the White House counsel told Nadler, is for the committee “to discontinue the inquiry.”

“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,” said Cipollone.

Nadler, in March, asked the White House for information from 81 individuals or entities connected to the president. CNN reported the chairman and other House Democratic leaders “are now raising the prospect they will hold numerous administration officials in contempt at the same time as part of a package to highlight the Trump administration’s stonewalling of Congress.”

Last week, the House Judiciary Committee voted to hold Attorney General William Barr in contempt for not providing an unredacted copy of the Mueller report and underlying evidence, including secret grand jury material.

In addition, the House Ways and Means Committee has issued a subpoena for Trump’s personal and business tax returns.