White House delivers heated response to Judiciary panel on impeachment hearing

by WorldTribune Staff, December 2, 2019

The White House will not participate in House Judiciary Committee chair Rep. Jerrold Nadler’s “baseless and highly partisan,” Dec. 4 impeachment hearing, White House counsel Pat Cipollone said.

House Judiciary Committee chair Jerrold Nadler. / C-SPAN

In a letter to the Judiciary panel, Cipollone said Nadler provided only “vague” details about the hearing and that unnamed academics, rather than “fact witnesses,” would apparently be testifying.

“This baseless and highly partisan inquiry violates all past historical precedent, basic due process rights, and fundamental fairness,” Cipollone wrote in the letter.

“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 said. “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 continued: “When the Judiciary Committee scheduled a similar hearing during the Clinton impeachment process, it allowed those questioning the witnesses two-and-a-half weeks’ notice to prepare, and it scheduled the hearing on a date suggested by the president’s attorneys. Today, by contrast, you have afforded the president no scheduling input, no meaningful information and so little time to prepare that you have effectively denied the administration a fair opportunity to participate.”

Cipollone added that Nadler had “purposely” scheduled the proceedings on Dec. 4 to coincide with President Donald Trump’s trip to the NATO Leaders’ Meeting in London.

Before deciding if Trump would participate in hearings after Dec. 4, Cipollone demanded to know whether Republicans would be able to cross-examine and call their own fact witnesses, including House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff.

The five-page letter came as the Democratic majority on Schiff’s committee was preparing to approve a report on Tuesday that will outline possible charges of bribery or “high crimes and misdemeanors,” the constitutional standard for impeachment.

After receiving the report, the Judiciary Committee would prepare actual charges.

“If [Schiff] chooses not to (testify), then I really question his veracity in what he’s putting in his report,” said Rep. Doug Collins, the top Republican on the Judiciary Committee. “It’s easy to hide behind a report,” Collins added. “But it’s going to be another thing to actually get up and have to answer questions.”

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