reported by thehill.com
In a letter obtained by The Hill, White House counsel Pat Cipollone asserts that the president’s diplomatic communications are confidential and protected by executive privilege and describes the requests as beyond Congress’ legitimate realm of inquiry.
Cipollone also argues that such a disclosure could have a detrimental impact on the ability of Trump or future presidents to conduct foreign relations.
“The President must be free to engage in discussions with foreign leaders without fear that those communications will be disclosed and used as fodder for partisan political purposes. And foreign leaders must be assured of this as well,” Cipollone writes in the letter sent Thursday to House committee chairmen Adam Schiff (D-Calif.), Elijah Cummings (D-Md.), and Eliot Engel (D-N.Y.).
“This is why, from the Nation’s beginning, Presidents from all political parties have determined that the law does not require the Executive Branch to provide Congress with documents relating to confidential diplomatic communications between the President and foreign leaders,” he writes.
Schiff, Cummings and Engel – who chair the Intelligence, Oversight and Foreign Affairs Committees, respectively – sent letters to the White House and State Department in early March seeking a slew of documents and transcribed interviews with executive branch staff related to a burgeoning investigation into Trump’s communications with Putin.