The White House announced in a fiery letter Sunday night that President Trump and his lawyers won’t participate in the House Judiciary Committee’s first impeachment hearing scheduled for Wednesday — even accusing the panel’s Democratic chairman, Jerry Nadler, of “purposely” scheduling the proceedings when Trump would be attending the NATO Leaders’ Meeting in London.
The five-page letter came as the Democratic majority on the House Intelligence Committee was preparing to approve a report on Tuesday that will outline possible charges of bribery or “high crimes and misdemeanors,” the constitutional standard for impeachment. After receiving the report, the Judiciary Committee would prepare actual charges.
“This baseless and highly partisan inquiry violates all past historical precedent, basic due process rights, and fundamental fairness,” wrote White House counsel Pat Cipollone, continuing the West Wing’s attack on the procedural form of the impeachment proceedings. Cipollone said Nadler provided only “vague” details about the hearing, and that unnamed academics — and not “fact witnesses” — would apparently be attending.
“As for the hearing scheduled for December 4, we cannot fairly be expected to participate in a hearing while the witnesses are yet to be named and while it remains unclear whether the Judiciary Committee will afford the president a fair process through additional hearings,” Cipollone said. “More importantly, an invitation to an academic discussion with law professors does not begin to provide the President with any semblance of a fair process. Accordingly, under the current circumstances, we do not intend to participate in your Wednesday hearing.”