Defense Secretary Mark Esper wont comply with the impeachment inquiry, joining President Donald Trumps lawyer Rudy Giuliani and Vice President Mike Pence.
The Trump administration sent a letter to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) on Oct. 8 rejecting the premise of the inquiry, arguing that its illegitimate because its not following traditional norms such as a full House vote.
“You have designed and implemented your inquiry in a manner that violates fundamental fairness and constitutionally mandated due process,” Pat Cipollone, White House counsel, said in the letter.
The Department of Defense said in a letter on Tuesday to House Democrats that “the current subpoena … raises a number of legal and practical concerns that must first be addressed” before any documents are given over.
“For example, although your letter asserts that the subpoena has issued [p]ursuant to the House of Representatives impeachment inquiry, the House has not authorized your committees to conduct any such inquiry. The Supreme Court has long held that the first step in assessing the validity of a subpoena from a congressional committee is determining whether the committee was authorized to issue the subpoena, which requires constru[ing] the scope of the authority which the House of Representatives gave to the committee,” Robert Hood, Assistant Secretary of Defense for Legislative Affairs, wrote in the letter.
“Here, none of your committees has identified any House rule or House resolution that authorized the committees to begin an inquiry pursuant to the impeachment power. In marked contrast with historical precedents, the House has not expressly adopted any resolution authorizing an impeachment investigation.”
Hood said that the House has also not given any of the committees—House Foreign Affairs, House Oversight and Reform, and House Intelligence—the authority to conduct the inquiry.