White House aims to hone strategy
and acting White House budget director Russell Vought. Pelosi’s office also released an open letter signed by 90 former national security officials who served in both Democratic and Republican administrations, voicing support for the whistleblower who raised concerns about Trump’s efforts to get Ukraine to investigate political foe Joe Biden.
“A responsible whistleblower makes all Americans safer by ensuring that serious wrongdoing can be investigated and addressed, thus advancing the cause of national security to which we have devoted our careers,” they wrote. “Whatever one’s view of the matters discussed in the whistleblower’s complaint, all Americans should be united in demanding that all branches of our government and all outlets of our media protect this whistleblower and his or her identity. Simply put, he or she has done what our law demands; now he or she deserves our protection.”
As the impeachment inquiry pressed forward, Republicans stepped up their attacks on Pelosi. President Donald Trump suggested in late-night tweets that she should be removed from office.
In a Monday tweet, Trump’s personal lawyer Rudy Giuliani resurrecting his idea of filing a lawsuit against Pelosi for “conspiracy to violate constitutional and civil rights.”
The House intelligence, Oversight and Foreign Affairs committees are investigating Trump’s actions pressing Ukraine to investigate Biden and his son, potentially interfering in the 2020 election.
The former vice president, for his part, has accused Trump of “frantically pushing flat-out lies, debunked conspiracy theories and smears against me.” Trump also withheld hundreds of millions of dollars in military assistance to Ukraine.
The White House has struggled to communicate its message beyond Trump’s angry public proclamations and a stream of tweets.
Indeed, top officials were absent from the Sunday talk shows, and the sole White House official to appear in public on Monday dodged questions on the inquiry.
Asked whether he believed the president was joking or in any way not serious when he suggested publicly that China should investigate the Bidens, Larry Kudlow, Trump’s top economic adviser, responded: “I don’t honestly know.”
Trump and his team’s initial strategy had been to try to undermine the credibility of the intelligence community whistleblower who first raised questions about Trump’s conduct with Ukraine, just as they tried to undercut special counsel Robert Mueller and his team. They stressed that the whistleblower had only second- or third-hand information and alleged that the person misrepresented the president’s efforts. But now a second whistleblower has come forward to corroborate the information, and a cache of text messages echoes the concerns that have been laid out.
As the impeachment inquiry ramps up, the White House plans to reprise its past response to congressional oversight: open scorn.
The president’s aides have ignored document requests and subpoenas, invoked executive privilege — going so far as to argue that the privilege extends to informal presidential advisers who have never held White House jobs — and all but dared Democrats to hold them in contempt.
House investigators are planning to hear Tuesday from Gordon Sondland, the U.S. ambassador to the European Union who has become a central figure in the probe, and Friday from Marie Yovanovitch, the former U.S. ambassador to Ukraine who was recalled from the post early.
The Washington Post contributed.
President Trump and his aides are expected to send a letter to House Democrats rejecting the impeachment inquiry.