Despite the “open invitation” for President Trump to participate in the upcoming House Judiciary Committer Hearings, the White House has said a resounding “No” to Democratic Chair, Jerry Nadler.
In a scathing letter delivered to Nadler, the White House announced that President Trump and his lawyers won’t participate in the House Judiciary Committee’s first impeachment hearing scheduled for Wednesday — even accusing 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.”
Cipollone’s letter continued, “When the Judiciary Committee scheduled a similar hearing during the Clinton impeachment process, it allowed those questioning the witnesses two-and-a-half weeks’ notice to prepare, and it scheduled the hearing on a date suggested by the president’s attorneys. Today, by contrast, you have afforded the president no scheduling input, no meaningful information and so little time to prepare that you have effectively denied the administration a fair opportunity to participate.”
The letter did, however, make it clear that it only applied to this first hearing, and was not a blanket refusal by the president to participate in the process. That decision will be made pending a response to queries made of Nadler and the democrats, asking if Republicans will be allowed to cross-examine fact-witnesses when they are called and if they will be entitled to subpoena their own witnesses.