White House refuses to comply with impeachment inquiry


Donald Trump speaking at CPAC 2011 in Washington, D.C.

Anna Olson

Regarding the impeachment inquiry it faces, the White House said Tuesday it would not cooperate with an effort “to overturn the results of the 2016 election.”

The Trump Administration has framed the constitutional impeachment inquiry into the president as a “coup” outside the bounds of the constitutional framework it is taking place within. The administration’s statements are not an accurate reflection of the constitutional process ongoing in the impeachment inquiry.

Scott Feinstein, assistant professor of political science, said even if the White House chooses not to comply, Congress can still find ways of getting witnesses and information.

“There’s a lot of other means at [their] disposal,” Feinstein said.

Pat A. Cipollone, the White House counsel, signed a letter explaining the White House’s reasoning behind this decision.

“[Congress’] unprecedented actions have left the president with no choice,” the letter said. “In order to fulfill his duties to the American people, the Constitution, the executive branch and all future occupants of the office of the presidency, President Trump and his administration cannot participate in your partisan and unconstitutional inquiry under these circumstances.”

Feinstein said this moment will impact the institutions of the three branches of government.

“Impeachment in a trial would be a political assessment and political examination of what we as a society are to tolerate and not to tolerate,” Feinstein said.

Lisa Heddens, a supervisor on the Story County Board of Supervisors and former state representative, said this issue is constitutional rather than a political issue and party loyalty should be out of discussion.

“Foreign governments should not be involved in our elections, nor should they be investigating political opponents,” Heddens said. “Loyalty to the Constitution greatly outweighs loyalty to political party or opinion. If the U.S. cannot stand by the constitution — then who are we?”

Feinstein said this issue, despite being constitutional, is also political.

“We probably can all say using foreign policy for political gain is an immoral and abusive [of] power,” Feinstein said.

Feinstein also said individuals should not be naive to the ways foreign power has been used in the past.

Chuck Grassley and Joni Ernst, two U.S. Senators representing Iowa in the body that would hold the trial of Trump should the House move to impeach him, did not respond to requests for comment, though Ernst said in a tweet “American elections should be decided by ELECTIONS. Not politicians.”

House Democrats said if the president doesn’t comply it could lead to a new article of impeachment — obstruction of Congress.

All three Democrats representing Iowa in the House have issued statements in support of the impeachment inquiry. The lone Republican, Rep. Steve King, said in a statement he opposes the impeachment inquiry.

“It looks to me now like the hard-core leftists, those activists, the Quad Squad, have taken over the agenda of the Democratic caucus in the House of Representatives,” King said.