Live

Watch CBSN Live

Nadler blasts White House's "unprecedented" refusal to hand over documents

W.H.: Congress "not entitled" to Mueller docs

House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerrold Nadler responded to White House counsel Pat Cipollone's letter refusing to comply with wide-ranging document requests related to the special counsel investigation. 

In a letter responding to Cipollone on Thursday, Nadler said the White House counsel's "failure to comprehend the gravity of the Special Counsel's findings is astounding and dangerous."

On Wednesday, Cipollone wrote in a 12-page letter that Congress did not have the constitutional authority to "redo" the probe by special counsel Robert Mueller.

In his own eight-page response, Nadler said Congress had the authority and duty to continue its investigation since the special counsel did not come to a determination as to whether President Trump obstructed justice. Attorney General William Barr determined Mr. Trump did not obstruct justice based on the 10 possible instances of obstruction detailed in the report.

"Against this backdrop, your sweeping claim that the committee has no right to seek documents and information related to the issues investigated by the Special Counsel is unprecedented and unsupported by law, history and practice," Nadler wrote.

Cipollone argued in his letter that by requesting so many documents and issuing subpoenas, the committee was overstepping its bounds as a legislative body.

"As presently framed, the Committee's inquiries transparently amount to little more than an attempt to duplicate — and supplant — law enforcement inquiries," Cipollone said. "As you know, the Committee is not a law enforcement agency."

Democrats have argued they want access to the underlying evidence for the Mueller report, and to view the report without redaction, in order to more completely understand the investigation's conclusions. However, Mr. Trump's allies believe it's a Democratic attempt to redo an investigation which had an unfavorable political outcome.

On Wednesday, Cipollone also rejected Nadler's broad requests, arguing he was going beyond his congressional authority.

"Under settled law, it is not the Committee's legislative function to conduct a detailed inquiry into a particular event or series of events in order to reconstruct a precise picture of the facts," Cipollone continued. He did say the White House would continue to work with the committee if it narrowed the scope of its request, and articulated "the legislative purpose and legal basis supporting each of the remaining requests."

Tensions between House Democrats and the administration have increased in recent days, particularly after the House Judiciary Committee voted to hold Barr in contempt of Congress last week, over his refusal to comply with a subpoena to provide documents related to the special counsel's investigation.

View CBS News In