White House says Trump will not participate in the first House Judiciary impeachment hearing

TrumpUS President Donald Trump delivers remarks during a meeting with Speaker of the House Paul Ryan, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R), Chairman of the Senate Finance Committee Orrin Hatch, other members of congress and his administration regarding tax reform in the Roosevelt Room of the White House on September 5, 2017 in Washington, DC.Getty Images

  • The White House on Sunday said neither President Donald Trump nor his lawyers would participate in the House Judiciary Committee's first impeachment hearing on Wednesday.
  • In a 5-page letter to House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerry Nadler, White House counsel Pat Cipollone wrote that the president would not be attending the upcoming hearing on the basis that it was "unclear whether the Judiciary Committee will afford the President a fair process through additional hearings."
  • The White House letter left open the possibility that Trump may participate in future hearings and said it would respond to a second Judiciary letter by a Friday deadline.
  • The House impeachment inquiry will move this week from its fact-finding stage in the Intelligence Committee to considerations of possible misconduct charges over Trump's dealings with Ukraine.
  • Visit Business Insider's homepage for more stories.

The White House on Sunday said neither President Donald Trump nor his lawyers would participate in the House Judiciary Committee's first impeachment hearing on Wednesday.

In a 5-page letter to House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerry Nadler, White House counsel Pat Cipollone wrote that the president would not be attending the upcoming hearing on the basis that it was "unclear whether the Judiciary Committee will afford the President a fair process through additional hearings."

"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 wrote.

The White House added that Nadler's November 26 query on whether Trump planned to participate in the upcoming hearings provided "little information" about the day's proceedings or possible witnesses.

"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 wrote.

The White House also slammed the hearing as "baseless" and which violates "past historical precedent" and "fundamental fairness."

The House impeachment inquiry will move this week from its fact-finding stage in the Intelligence Committee to considerations of possible misconduct charges over Trump's dealings with Ukraine.

According to Politico, this means that Trump will likely rely on his GOP allies on the Judiciary Panel to mount a defense for him in a move intended to paint the impeachment proceedings as illegitimate and partisan.

The Democratic-led Judiciary Committee gave The White House until Sunday night to respond to the Judiciary letter on whether Trump or his lawyers would be participating in Wednesday's hearing. The Committee also sent another letter on November 29 which asked whether the administration would attend additional unspecified hearings in the future and gave the White House until Friday to respond.

The White House letter on Sunday left open the possibility that Trump may participate in future hearings and said it would respond to the second Judiciary letter by the intended Friday deadline.

Wednesday's hearing will be the first in a series of expected proceedings which will hear testimony on the impeachment process from a panel of legal experts. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi will make the final decision on whether or not to impeach Trump.

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