Trump declines to attend impeachment hearing

Agency, 2 December : The White House has said US President Donald Trump and his lawyers will not attend an impeachment hearing in the House of Representatives on Wednesday.

Mr Trump could not be expected to participate “fairly”, White House counsel Pat Cipollone said in a letter to the House Judiciary Committee.

Last week, Chairman Jerrold Nadler said Mr Trump could either attend or “stop complaining about the process”. The White House did not say whether Mr Trump would attend a second hearing.

It said it would respond separately to an invitation to the second hearing – which does not yet have a date set – by Friday.

The letter, which has been published by Politico, accused the House committee of a “complete lack of due process and fundamental fairness” in the inquiry.

It said the invitation to attend on 4 December would fail to give the White House adequate time to prepare for the hearing and did not give information about the witnesses.

Mr Cipollone said press reports suggested witnesses were “apparently all academics” and would include “no fact witnesses”. A fact witness testifies their personal knowledge of events while an expert witness assists the judge by offering an opinion.

The president’s counsel also said that the committee had called three witnesses but allowed Republicans to call just one.

Mr Cipollone lambasted Mr Nadler’s claim that the process was “consistent” with historical impeachment inquiries, arguing that President Bill Clinton had a fairer hearing in 1998.

He said that in order for Mr Trump to be represented in further hearings, Mr Nadler would need to ensure “that due process rights are protected” and that the process was “fair and just”.

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10 months ago

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