White House rejects participation in 'baseless' impeachment probe

Nellie Chapman
December 7, 2019

The White House will not participate in the House Judiciary Committee's next impeachment hearing, a senior Trump administration official said Friday in another sign the president has accepted that he is likely to be impeached by the House.

Trump's White House would be expected to play a significant role if the current proceedings reach the Republican-controlled Senate, where a trial would take place if the House passes articles of impeachment.

"As you know, your impeachment inquiry is completely baseless and has violated basic principles of due process and fundamental fairness", wrote White House counsel Pat Cipollone in a letter sent to Nadler.

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".

"House Democrats have wasted enough of America's time with this charade", Cipollone wrote.

Following direction from House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, the committee is set to draft and recommend the articles by December 12, after more than two months investigating, interviewing witnesses and holding hearings into whether the Republican president abused the power of his office.

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In reflecting on the impeachment hearings, House Intelligence Chairman Adam Schiff, D-Calif. The articles of impeachment could include abuse of power, bribery, obstruction of Congress and obstruction of justice.

Trump is accused of pressuring Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky to open investigations into Biden and his son, and also into a widely-dismissed theory that Ukraine helped Democrats in the 2016 election.

He also declined on Thursday to provide specifics about the process of settling on articles of impeachment, saying only he thought the panel was 'getting there'.

Trump and Republicans have consistently denied he did anything wrong.

The probe is focusing on a July 25 telephone call in which Trump asked Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy to open an investigation into Biden and his son Hunter and into a discredited theory promoted by Trump and his allies that Ukraine, not Russian Federation, meddled in the 2016 US election. Senate Republicans, who have a majority in the Congressional body, have given virtually no indication that they would support Trump's removal.

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