Trump declares it in writing: He won’t cooperate in impeachment probe

Trump appears to not just only flout accepted decorum in such investigations, but even perhaps crossed the subjective line of "retaliatory personnel action" by his call for outing the individual who filed the complaint and putting his or her safety at risk.

A characteristically sarcastic George Conway, husband to White House counselor Kellyanne Conway, was unsurprised by the news that Sondland would not be testifying, tweeting: "But we were all so looking forward to his testimony about the world's most ideal presidential phone call".

White House Counsel Pat Cipollone sent a letter Tuesday to House Democratic leaders that outright rejected Congress' impeachment inquiry and sought to delegitimize the entire effort.

The letter comes the same day that Trump intensified his fight with Congress by blocking Gordon Sondland, the U.S. European Union ambassador, from testifying behind closed doors about the president's dealings with Ukraine.

The letter says the manner of the inquiry violates fundamental fairness and constitutionally mandated due process.

A transcript of the call, released by the White House on September 25, revealed that Trump had asked Zelensky to look into Biden's dealings in Ukraine but hadn't pressured him, and there was no quid pro quo.

It lists examples, including that the president has been denied basic rights, such as the right to cross-examine witnesses and to have access to evidence. That letter can be read on the U.S. House website.

Sondland has been a key figure in the widening Ukraine scandal involving the president, members of his Cabinet and high-ranking diplomats.

"Because participating in this inquiry under the current unconstitutional posture would inflict lasting institutional harm on the executive branch and lasting damage to the separation of powers, you have left the president no choice".

Sondland is further named in the intelligence community whistleblower repot that spurred the impeachment inquiry.

As the process continues, the Trump team is gearing up for a full-scale war against the Democrat-led effort for impeachment.

Later Tuesday, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi issued a statement in response to the White House letter, pointing out that Cipollone made "false claims about the Constitution, House rules and House precedent". In 2018, Biden boasted that he had pressured then-Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko to remove a prosecutor who was investigating a Ukrainian gas company, Burisma, where the former vice president's son held a lucrative board position.

"As I said on the phone, I think it's insane to withhold assistance for help with a political campaign", Taylor wrote in a message on September 9. And, as you know, there's a lot of work going on, on that.

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