Pelosi hits back at Trump over letter: 'Only the latest attempt to cover up his betrayal of our democracy'

Speaker Nancy PelosiNancy PelosiClinton says Zuckerberg has 'authoritarian' views on misinformation Trump defense team signals focus on Schiff Trump legal team offers brisk opening defense of president MORE (D-Calif.) fired back at President TrumpDonald John TrumpKaine: Obama called Trump a 'fascist' during 2016 campaign Kaine: GOP senators should 'at least' treat Trump trial with seriousness of traffic court Louise Linton, wife of Mnuchin, deletes Instagram post in support of Greta Thunberg MORE on Tuesday evening and accused him of trying to “cover up” his dealings with Ukraine after the White House sent a letter saying it would not cooperate with the House’s impeachment inquiry.

“For a while, the President has tried to normalize lawlessness. Now, he is trying to make lawlessness a virtue,” she said in a statement. “The 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.”

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The statement came in response to a letter from the White House accusing House Democrats of working to “overturn the results of the 2016 election” and violating the Constitution with “legally unsupported demands” for testimony and documents from several administration officials and Trump affiliates.

“Given that your inquiry lacks any legitimate constitutional foundation, any pretense of fairness, or even the most elementary due process protections, the Executive Branch cannot be expected to participate in it,” White House counsel Pat Cipollone wrote.

“Because participating in this inquiry under the current unconstitutional posture would inflict lasting institutional harm on the Executive Branch and lasting damage to the separation of powers, you have left the President no choice,” he added.

Pelosi announced late last month that the House would launch a formal impeachment inquiry into Trump following allegations that he abused his power by pushing the Ukrainian president to “look into” Democratic presidential candidate Joe BidenJoe BidenDes Moines Register endorses Elizabeth Warren as Democratic presidential nominee Sanders faces lingering questions about appeal to women voters George Conway: Witness missing from impeachment trial is Trump MORE, a chief political rival. 

House Democratic committee leaders have issued a slate of subpoenas demanding records and testimony from the White House, Vice President Pence, the Office of Management and Budget, the Pentagon, Trump’s personal lawyer Rudy GiulianiRudy GiulianiDemocrats see Mulvaney as smoking gun witness at Trump trial Pompeo lashes out at 'shameful' NPR reporter Trump legal team launches impeachment defense MORE, and more as part of the chamber's investigation.

“This letter is manifestly wrong, and is simply another unlawful attempt to hide the facts of the Trump Administration’s brazen efforts to pressure foreign powers to intervene in the 2020 elections.  Despite the White House’s stonewalling, we see a growing body of evidence that shows that President Trump abused his office and violated his oath to ‘protect, preserve and defend the Constitution,’” said Pelosi.

House Democrats have claimed that obstruction of justice over the White House’s refusal to comply with the subpoenas could be incorporated into the impeachment investigation, though a senior administration official told reporters Tuesday that “asserting rights under the Constitution cannot ever properly be framed as obstruction of justice.”