Federal investigators have been looking into Giuliani's dealings in Ukraine since early 2019


How is the White House going to defend itself against an on going impeachment inquiry some White House officials and people connected to the White House have declared a congressional investigation to be unconstitutional of said they will not cooperate Rudy guiliani the president's personal lawyer says he does not have to comply with subpoenas his lawyer wrote a letter saying the impeachment inquiry was unconstitutional and baseless vice president pence has issued a more nuanced statement suggesting that he may be able to provide some documents in some circumstances the White House counsel's office has said there is no need to cooperate with an illegitimate inquiry and yet witnesses connected with the administration continue to appear before a house impeachment inquiry so what's going on Stephen groves is on the line he has a special assistant to the president until recently was in the White House counsel's office and is now deputy press secretary Mister gross good morning morning Steve thank you ever probably Neil I I want to begin with Rudy Giuliani's statement the statement made by his lawyer saying it was unconstitutional and baseless to to investigate in this way and saying that he doesn't have to provide documents for various reasons really direct question because you're a lawyer in the United States can someone decide to ignore a subpoena okay ignore or not comply with subpoenas you know if they are asking for materials that the person issuing a subpoena art and title to like for example if someone subpoenaed you and said I want all the communications between you Steve Inskeep and your lawyer you don't have to necessarily comply with that subpoena I mean you might you might have to litigate and have a judge decide whether your attorney client privilege can be overcome by the subpoena but the subpoena a lone it is not something that can not be child in the United States in other words you can say sue me you can order the person issuing subpoena can realize I'm asking for attorney client privileged material here maybe I'll pursue other documents that are covered by privilege well I want to understand Julie on his position and I recognize that he's outside the White House you don't directly speak for him but you have to have some understanding of this Giuliani has publicly said in the last couple of days I don't care if people look into my business dealings in Ukraine and of course Giuliani had business dealings in Ukraine while also representing the president of the United States in seeking an investigation of people connected with Joe Biden and Joe Biden himself he said I don't care if people look into my business dealings they can look into it all they want but then his lawyer drops this letter saying that we won't cooperate if there is nothing to hide why not cooperate well you're you're quite right that as a private citizen not working in the US government I don't speak for Rudy Giuliani and the more the point the the letter that you referenced in the opening issued by the White House counsel no that that doesn't apply to people you know outside of the administration I think that there may be some things that were subpoenaed from Giuliani that touch on attorney client privilege if they were communications that he had with the president but otherwise you know it's up to Giuliani to decide whether he's going to be complying with a congressional subpoena would you urge him to cooperate and comply with legitimate subpoena definitely not my place to urge him about complying with the subpoena that some that he added that he retains another lawyer as you pointed out they'll have to decide that were or deal with Congress in their own way or I have to go to court if the subpoena is going to be enforced or if Congress tries to hold him in contempt these are all decisions that Giuliani will have to make I'm trying to understand the White House is specifically the white house's strategy here as well because the White House counsel as you know for whom you'll work until recently has taken what to a layman seems like the same here this is an illegitimate inquiry we don't have to comply with anything and yet people who are in the administration still are testifying showing up complying with subpoenas producing documents when asked are it is the White House doing anything to try to stop them the White House has been clear on on its position that you know in the past when impeachment Cory's I have been opened there's been certain processes that everyone it has agreed to whether it was Nixon with a Democrat Congress or Clinton with a Republican Congress others been up for vote opening a formal inquiry and then most importantly in both cases minimum the minimum due process rights reported to both president Nixon and to quit but let's not because we have discussed this but you're in a situation now where you've said the house is being unfair we don't have to cooperate and yet people are cooperating are you trying to stop them in anyway I believe without getting into anything that like internally delivered of that witnesses have been informed about executive privilege and informed about classified information and they have gone and and participated or worse that for depositions or interviews hopefully they you know are you know know what their obligations are as current or former employees of the federal government vis a vis a revealing executive privilege revealing classified information but you know we're going to go forward with this inquiry as as best we can given the Democrats you know lack of transparency lack of formality and you know we'll see how this thing pans out the end but right now the White House is clear that it's not going to participate in an illegitimate sham process which is really what this is but you're only going so far and stopping other people who are working for the U. S. government from participating when you say we're going to go forward as best we can that's what I hear you saying that's what seems to be happening we don't want people to be hurt we don't want people to be held in contempt you know the Democrats are are issuing subpoenas like hot cakes and you know we have an obligation to protect classified information in the sector privileged information and and we'll go forward in this thing at you know as best we can and we we intend to go forward and not dissipate Mister gross thanks for your insights really appreciate it thank you Steve Stephen gross is a special assistant to the president of the United States NPR White House correspondent Frank or don yes has been listening along with us and Franco what do you hear there well I mean he's following administration line is talking about you know that the administration is you know it's not going to cooperate with what it sees as a sham investigation criticizing closing in democratic leadership of giving out subpoenas like hot cakes but I found it interesting that you know he you know said that the administration will cooperate or at least the White House will be quote cooperate but as you pointed out we're finding out that many members of the administration are sitting down for these interviews and the White House is all is only going so far to try to stop them we haven't had court battles over the testimony of various US diplomats for example know exactly I mean this is this been for it's very fascinating particularly you know we have someone coming up we just had Volker we just had we have McKinley coming tomorrow for me today it's you know the next few days are going to continue to be very interesting NPR's of Franco done yes thanks so much thank

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