White House dismisses invitation to take part in key impeachment hearing

Elias Hubbard
December 7, 2019

"Whatever course you choose, as the President has recently stated: 'if you are going to impeach me, do it now, fast, so we can have a fair trial in the Senate, and so that our country can get back to business, '" Cipollone wrote, citing a tweet from Trump this week.

Democrats accuse Trump of abusing his power by withholding $391 million in security aid to Ukraine - a vulnerable USA ally facing Russian aggression - as leverage to pressure Kiev into investigating the Bidens, and promising Zelenskiy a coveted White House meeting.

Friday was the deadline for President Trump to respond to Nadler's request for participation in a December 9 Judiciary Committee hearing.

If the House passes the articles of impeachment as expected, the Senate would hold a trial on whether to convict Trump and remove him from office. "Well", Clyburn said, "we do expect to lose some, and that's why I said it's a conscious vote and it's with their constituents".

Cipollone told Nadler in the letter that adopting articles of impeachment "would be a reckless abuse of power" and constitute "the most unjust, highly partisan, and unconstitutional attempt at impeachment in our nation's history".

According to arguments laid out by House Democrats, Trump abused his power as president and attempted to bribe a foreign leader by withholding an Oval Office meeting and military aid until Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky publicly announced investigations involving his political rival, Joe Biden, and a now-debunked theory that Ukraine had meddled in the 2016 presidential election.

Ranking House member Doug Collins claimed in the letter to House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerrold Nadler that Schiff "has permitted to testify publicly" for "those he has previously vetted and approved in a private deposition setting", suggesting that Schiff prohibited Republicans or the USA president "to call any additional witnesses".

"If the president has no good response to the allegations, then he would not want to appear before the committee", Nadler said in a written statement.

Trump denies wrongdoing and has not cooperated with the investigation, which he calls a hoax.

The two-paragraph letter did not expressly state the White House's refusal to participate. "Having declined this opportunity, he can not claim that the process is unfair".

With the exception of Vindman, there was little likelihood Nadler would accept the witness list.

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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