The White House responded Tuesday after House Democrats demanded that White House Counsel Pat Cipollone turn over “facts and information” before the Senate starts its impeachment trial of President Donald Trump.
“You must disclose all facts and information as to which you have first-hand knowledge that will be at issue in connection with evidence you present or arguments you make in your role as the President’s legal advocate so that the Senate and Chief Justice can be apprised of any potential ethical issues, conflicts or biases,” the impeachment managers wrote.
The White House slammed the idea in a statement, calling it “completely absurd” that the president’s lawyer would have to “turn over protected documents and confidential information.” (RELATED: McConnell Introduces Resolution With Timeline For Senate Impeachment Trial)
“The Democrats are an utter joke – they have no case, and this latest political stunt proves it. The idea that the Counsel to the President has to turn over protected documents and confidential information is ludicrous, and to imply he can’t represent the President of the United States in an impeachment proceeding is completely absurd,” Deputy Press Secretary Hogan Gidley said.
Gidley also alleged that the Democrats are operating with a double standard because House Intelligence Chairman Adam Schiff, one of the impeachment managers, is also a material witness in the case. Schiff’s office had contact with the intelligence community whistleblower who first alleged wrongdoing on the president’s July 25 call with Ukraine in which he asked President Volodymyr Zelensky to investigate the Biden family.
“Further, the man Democrats appointed to lead these proceedings is Adam Schiff – who has been caught lying multiple times about Russia collusion evidence that didn’t exist, made up a totally phony phone conversation about Ukraine that never happened, and lied that his staff didn’t have contact with the whistleblower. If there’s anyone who should be disqualified from leading this proceeding it’s Mr. Schiff,” Gidley stated.
Texas Republican Sen. Ted Cruz made a similar argument in a statement released earlier Tuesday.
Democrats’ opening salvo in impeachment: they demand @realDonaldTrump get rid of his lawyer, Pat Cipollone.
Unlike the House, the Senate will have a FAIR trial. That means we won’t deny the President his lawyer ON THE DAY the trial starts.
— Ted Cruz (@tedcruz) January 21, 2020
“Under the standard put forth by the House Democrats today – that any potential fact witness cannot serve as counsel in the impeachment hearing – there is an obvious person who should be disqualified: Adam Schiff,” Cruz said. “Schiff, it has been alleged, spoke directly with the so-called ‘whistle-blower’ and may even have helped him draft the complaint that launched this entire impeachment. So, maybe we should disqualify Schiff as a lawyer, and schedule him instead as a witness to explain his role in creating the ‘evidence’ in this proceeding?”