White House won’t take part in first House Judiciary impeachment hearing

Source: Politico | December 1, 2019 | Andrew Desiderio and Kyle Cheney

“It is too late to cure the profound procedural deficiencies that have tainted this entire inquiry,” his counsel said.

The White House informed House Democrats on Sunday that it will not participate in the Judiciary Committee’s first impeachment hearing, excoriating Democrats’ impeachment inquiry as a “baseless” and “partisan” exercise in scathing five-page letter to the panel’s chairman.

The decision indicates that President Donald Trump has listened to his allies and some congressional Republicans who argued that a White House presence at the hearing would validate a process they have harangued as illegitimate and partisan.

It also means Trump will lean heavily on his closest GOP allies on the panel — including Reps. Jim Jordan of Ohio, John Ratcliffe of Texas and Matt Gaetz of Florida — to mount an impeachment defense during the Judiciary panel’s first hearing on Wednesday featuring legal scholars.

“Under the current circumstances, we do not intend to participate in your Wednesday hearing,” White House Counsel Pat Cipollone wrote in a letter to Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerrold Nadler (D-N.Y.), adding that “an invitation to an academic discussion with law professors does not begin to provide the president with any semblance of a fair process.”

Nadler had asked Trump to indicate by Sunday whether the president himself or a White House attorney would attend Wednesday’s hearing, an offer that Democrats said was an attempt to afford due process to Trump as he faces a likely impeachment vote before the end of the month.

Nadler has also asked Trump to reveal by the end of the week whether he intends to participate in any aspect of the Judiciary Committee’s impeachment proceedings, which are expected to continue into the following week. Notably, Cipollone left open the possibility that the White House would participate in future hearings.

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