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President Trump is trying to make lawlessness a virtue, says Speaker Pelosi

Washington: President Donald Trump is "trying to make lawlessness a virtue", House of Representatives Speaker Nancy Pelosi has said.

Pelosi's comment came after the White House in a letter to the Democrat leaders on Tuesday refused any cooperation from President Trump in the impeachment investigations by the opposition.

"For a while, the President has tried to normalise lawlessness. Now, he is trying to make lawlessness a virtue, Pelosi said in a statement.

The American people have already heard the President's own words do us a favour though. The President's actions threaten our national security, violate our Constitution and undermine the integrity of our elections. The White House letter is only the latest attempt to cover up his betrayal of our democracy, and to insist that the President is above the law, she said.

Democrats in the US House of Representatives are examining whether there are grounds to impeach Trump, a Republican, based on a whistleblower's account that said he asked Ukrainian President Zelenskiy in a July 25 phone call to help investigate Democratic political rival Joe Biden.

In the letter written to the Democratic leaders, White House counsel Pat Cipollone rejected the allegations against President Trump terming it baseless and unconstitutional.

In a strongly worded statement, Pelosi said that the White House should be warned that continued efforts to hide the truth of the President's abuse of power from the American people will be regarded as further evidence of obstruction.

Mr President, you are not above the law. You will be held accountable. This letter is manifestly wrong, and is simply another unlawful attempt to hide the facts of the Trump Administration's brazen efforts to pressure foreign powers to intervene in the 2020 elections, Pelosi said.

She also said that WH's stonewalling against the allegations was giving evidence of President Trump abusing his office and violating his oath to protect, preserve and defend the Constitution.

In a joint statement, Congressmen Adam B Schiff, Chairman of the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence, Eliot L. Engel, Chairman of the Committee on Foreign Affairs, and Elijah E. Cummings, Chairman of the Committee on Oversight and Reform, alleged that White House has once again attempted to impede and obstruct the impeachment inquiry.

Schiff and his Democratic colleagues believe that the call record of the President's July 25 conversation with Ukrainian President Zelensky makes clear that the President pressed Ukraine to initiate investigations to benefit him personally and politically.

The pressure on Ukraine took place as the White House also withheld hundreds of millions of dollars in vital military assistance to counter Russian aggression, they say.

Trump has denied any wrong doing and accused the Democrats of political witch-hunt. But the Democrats have made it clear that they will continue with their impeachment proceedings.

This morning, we learned from Ambassador Sondland's personal attorneys that the State Department left a voicemail last night at 12:30 am informing them that the Trump Administration would not allow the Ambassador to appear today as part of the House's impeachment inquiry, the three influential Democrats said.

In addition, Ambassador Sondland's attorneys have informed us that the Ambassador has recovered communications from his personal devices that the Committees requested prior to his interview today. He has turned them over to the State Department, however, and the State Department is withholding them from the Committees, in defiance of our subpoena to Secretary Pompeo, they said.

These actions appear to be part of the White House's effort to obstruct the impeachment inquiry and to cover up President Trump's misconduct from Congress and the American people. Ambassador Sondland's testimony and documents are vital, and that is precisely why the Administration is now blocking his testimony and withholding his documents, they said.

The three lawmakers said that they consider this interference to be obstruction of the impeachment inquiry.

We will be issuing subpoena to Ambassador Sondland for both his testimony and documents, they said.

Congressman Michael McCaul, lead Republican of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, said that Schiff and Pelosi are intentionally skirting prior impeachment precedent in order to deny Republicans basic rights in their partisan investigation.

In the Nixon and Clinton cases, votes were taken on the House Floor to establish a formal inquiry which set up the rules of the road. Today, Democrats have denied House members the opportunity to take that vote. Their rush to impeachment has ensured there will be no fairness in this process and is reckless when the presidential election is 13 months away, he said.

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