Rudy Giuliani on Tuesday blew off a congressional subpoena to provide documents and details on his dealings in Ukraine on behalf of Donald Trump.
House lawmakers had given Trump’s personal lawyer a deadline of Tuesday to provide documents and communications files about his efforts to dig up dirt on a potential political rival of Trump, Democratic presidential hopeful Joe Biden.
But in a letter sent to the House Intelligence Committee from his attorney in the matter, Jon Sale, Giuliani basically said, “I decline.”
Sale cited a White House letter stating that it would not cooperate with the impeachment inquiry, which it claimed was invalid.
Sale’s letter, a copy of which was obtained by The Hill, argues that the subpoena is “overbroad, unduly burdensome, and seeks documents beyond the scope of legitimate inquiry.” Sale also asserted that certain documents in the subpoena fall under attorney-client privilege, an argument some legal experts expressed skepticism about.
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Democrats leading the impeachment charge obviously disagree with Giuliani’s assessment of the validity of their inquiry into whether Trump tried to strong-arm a foreign power to aid him personally. As they spelled out in their subpoena, they noted, as ABC News reports:
that Giuliani had “admitted on national television that, while serving as the president’s personal attorney, he asked the government of Ukraine to target former Vice President Joe Biden.”
Giuliani told ABC that if Democrats try to enforce the subpoena, he’ll get a lawyer, a new lawyer. (Sale was only his attorney for the purpose of responding to the Democrats’ request, he said.)
“At this time, I do not need a lawyer,” Giuliani tweeted.
Giuliani’s opinions on his need for legal advice notwithstanding, Democrats on Tuesday hit back. They said that like any other citizen, Giuliani cannot pick and choose which command performances from Congress he wishes to take part in.
They also said that lack of cooperation on Giuliani’s part can be held against him and Trump as evidence of obstruction of the lawmakers’ inquiry.
“Witnesses do not get to choose whether to comply with a duly-authorized subpoena, or to pick their investigators—not in the justice system, not in the Congress, and not in our democracy,” an official working on the inquiry said in a written statement, according to The Hill.
“If Rudy Giuliani and the President truly have nothing to hide about their actions, Giuliani will comply—otherwise, we will be forced to consider this as additional evidence of obstruction, and may infer that the evidence withheld would substantiate the accusations of President Trump’s misconduct and efforts to cover it up. Nobody is above the law, not a president, and not his shadow envoy to Ukraine.”