Trump says he'd cooperate with impeachment inquiry 'if the rules are fair'

President TrumpDonald John TrumpRepublicans aim to avoid war with White House over impeachment strategy New York Times editorial board calls for Trump's impeachment Trump rips Michigan Rep. Dingell after Fox News appearance: 'Really pathetic!' MORE on Wednesday said he might be willing to cooperate with House Democrats' impeachment inquiry, but only if they hold a formal vote to outline rules for the investigation and if those rules "are fair."

Trump was asked twice during an event in the Roosevelt Room of the White House if he would cooperate with Democrats leading the impeachment inquiry.

ADVERTISEMENT

“We would if they give us our rights. It depends," Trump said initially, indicating that he would not be inclined to cooperate with the probe if Democrats "say you can’t have lawyers, you can’t ask questions, you can’t have anybody present, all of these crazy things."

Asked again to clarify his position, Trump reiterated that he would collaborate with Democrats "if the rules are fair."

White House counsel Pat Cipollone on Tuesday night sent a letter to Speaker Nancy PelosiNancy PelosiUSMCA is nice but no model Anti-impeachment Democrat poised to switch parties Grassley urges White House to help farmers in year-end tax talks MORE (D-Calif.) and three committee leaders stating that the administration would not cooperate with any of their requests related to the impeachment inquiry.

The White House decried the impeachment inquiry as an "invalid" effort to "overturn the results of the 2016 election" and asserted that the lack of a formal vote to start the investigation broke with past precedent and violated the executive branch's rights.

Pelosi announced late last month that the House would formally launch the inquiry into Trump, alleging he abused his office by urging Ukraine's president to “look into” Democratic presidential candidate Joe BidenJoe BidenNew York Times editorial board calls for Trump's impeachment Graham invites Giuliani to testify about recent Ukraine trip Booker leads other 2020 Dems in petition urging DNC to change debate qualifications MORE.

Pelosi has noted that there is no legal obligation for the House to formally vote to authorize the impeachment inquiry. Some Democrats and Republicans have said they believe there should be a vote, however.

Democratic committee leaders have in recent days issued subpoenas demanding records from the White House, Vice President Pence, the Office of Management and Budget, the Pentagon and Trump’s personal lawyer Rudy GiulianiRudy GiulianiGraham invites Giuliani to testify about recent Ukraine trip Judge orders State Dept. to search for and provide more Ukraine docs DOJ releases memos backing Trump immunity claims ahead of impeachment vote MORE as part of the investigation.

Top Democrats have warned that the White House's refusal to comply with their requests could be cited as obstruction in a potential article of impeachment.