White House to not attend Judiciary Committee hearing

It is unclear whether committee will provide Trump with fair process through further hearings, says White House counsel

Servet Günerigök   | 02.12.2019
White House to not attend Judiciary Committee hearing


The White House said Sunday it will not participate in a new hearing in the House Judiciary Committee this week.

The Judiciary Committee's first hearing on the impeachment of President Donald Trump over his dealings with Ukraine is scheduled for Wednesday.

In a letter to Judiciary Chairman Jerry Nadler, White House counsel Pat Cipollone said the witnesses are still to be named and it remains unclear whether the Committee will provide Trump with a fair process through further hearings.

"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," said Cipollone.

"Accordingly, under the current circumstances, we do not intend to participate in your Wednesday hearing."

Last week, Nadler in a letter asked Trump if he and his counsel plan to attend the session, requesting the president to provide notice of his or his counsel's desire to attend no later than Dec. 1 and notify him on that day of who will serve as the president's counsel.

The hearing will examine the historical constitutional grounds for impeachment, Nadler wrote, maintaining that the impeachment process' procedures and privileges afforded to Trump have been consistent with those given to former Presidents Bill Clinton and Richard Nixon.

The House’s ongoing impeachment investigation is centered on Trump's repeated requests to Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky to open criminal investigations into Democratic candidate Joe Biden and his son, Hunter, as well as claims that it was Ukraine, not Russia, who meddled in the 2016 election.

Also at issue is the holdup of $400 million in congressionally appropriated military aid to Ukraine and whether Trump conditioned the release of that assistance and a possible Oval Office meeting with Zelensky on the Ukrainian president publicly announcing the investigations.

Trump has repeatedly lashed out at the impeachment probe as a "witch hunt" and denied wrongdoing.

Roughly a dozen witnesses have offered sworn public testimony before House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff.

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