Pelosi slams Trump's 'growing pattern of obstruction' as 'unconstitutional'

Speaker Nancy PelosiNancy PelosiCummings to lie in state at the Capitol House Republicans 'demand the release of the rules' on impeachment Overnight Health Care — Presented by National Taxpayers Union —Dem wants more changes to Pelosi drug pricing bill | Ebola outbreak wanes, but funding lags | Johnson & Johnson recalls batch of baby powder after asbestos traces found MORE (D-Calif.) upped the ante in the feud between House Democrats and President TrumpDonald John TrumpFlorida GOP lawmaker says he's 'thinking' about impeachment Democrats introduce 'THUG Act' to block funding for G-7 at Trump resort Kurdish group PKK pens open letter rebuking Trump's comparison to ISIS MORE Wednesday, rolling out a new messaging campaign slamming the White House’s efforts to defy congressional oversight as “unconstitutional.”

Pelosi laid out the new push in a memo to be distributed to Democratic offices, claiming that the administration’s refusal to cooperate with subpoenas and congressional requests for testimony from administration officials amounts to an “unprecedented and growing pattern of obstruction.” 

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“Last week, President Trump declared he would ‘fight all the subpoenas’ — taking the unprecedented step of issuing a blanket policy of refusing to respect Congress’ constitutional authority to conduct oversight of the Executive to ensure Washington is working for the people. By stonewalling Congress, Trump is refusing to allow the American people to make an independent judgment about his Administration’s policies and his personal conduct in office,” Pelosi wrote in the memo, which is titled “TRUMP ADMINISTRATION OBSTRUCTION: UNPRECEDENTED, UNWARRANTED, UNCONSTITUTIONAL.”

“Congress is a co-equal branch of government, intended to serve as a check on executive power and prevent the rise of a tyrant. Preventing Congress from exercising any oversight as the President intends fundamentally impairs the balance of power.”

A copy of the memo was first obtained by Politico.

The memo, which reflects a distinct heightening in tone from Pelosi, comes a day after she and other congressional Democrats met with Trump for infrastructure discussions that both sides hailed as productive.

House committee chairpersons have fumed at the administration for weeks over its refusal to comply with subpoenas and other requests for testimony and documents on a litany of topics, including its immigration policy, the White House security clearance process, Trump’s finances, the census and more.

The memo says the Trump administration has “denied or delayed” information or testimony on several of these fronts as a way to conceal “dangerous and secretive activities from the public.”

“The President was elected to serve the people, not rule behind closed doors,” Pelosi writes. “Transparency is critical to a healthy democracy and every American should be alarmed by the president’s behavior.”

The tension between the two ends of Pennsylvania Avenue has led Democratic investigators to float the idea of fining or even jailing uncooperative administration officials.

The no-cooperation strategy from the White House has also exacerbated calls from some House Democrats to begin impeachment proceedings, which Pelosi and others in the party’s leadership have tried to tamp down, pointing to public opinion polls showing opposition to ousting the president.