The White House has called the Trump impeachment inquiry "illegitimate"—and Nancy Pelosi has accused the president of thinking he is above the law. "For a while, the President has tried to normalize lawlessness. Now, he is trying to make lawlessness a virtue." After White House counsel Pat Cipollone officially declared in a letter that the administration would refuse to cooperate with the investigation, Pelosi said in a statement late Tuesday that the administration was stonewalling House lawmakers and said the "manifestly wrong" 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," the Hill reports.
The House's impeachment inquiry has been implemented in "a manner that violates fundamental fairness and constitutionally mandated due process," Cipollone wrote. Legal experts, however, liken the letter to a "declaration of war" and say it appears to rely on cable news arguments more than case law, the AP reports. "I think the goal of this letter is to further inflame the president's supporters and attempt to delegitimize the process in the eyes of his supporters," says University of Texas law professor Stephen Vladeck. The letter, he says, does not strike him as an "effort to provide sober legal analysis." House Democrats say if the White House refuses to comply with subpoenas, obstruction of justice could be added to the impeachment investigation. (Read more Trump impeachment stories.)