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    Trump declines to participate in House impeachment hearing

    Synopsis

    US President Donald Trump's lawyer Pat Cipollone said he 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.

    Bloomberg
    Washington: President Donald Trump’s lawyer on Sunday told the House Judiciary Committee the White House would not take part in the panel’s first impeachment hearing on Wednesday, but kept open the possibility he would be represented at future sessions.

    Pat Cipollone, counsel to the president, rejected the invitation to take part, criticising the panel for demanding a response before any witnesses have been named or a schedule for other hearings has been set.

    He said the entire process has been unfair to the president. “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 wrote to Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerrold Nadler of New York.

    He also said the hearing was scheduled — “no doubt purposely” — while Trump is out of the country at a Nato
    leaders’ meeting in London. The Wednesday hearing will examine whether Trump’s actions as detailed in the evidence gathered so far warrant articles of impeachment.

    The panel also plans to explain the constitutional framework for impeachment and the term “high crimes and misdemeanors”.

    The committee had received the letter Sunday night, but issued no immediate comment. Trump has repeatedly assailed the impeachment proceedings, led by Democrats, calling it a “witch hunt” that seeks to overturn the results of the 2016 election.

    The president routinely says he did nothing wrong in his effort to press Ukraine's president, Volodymyr Zelenskiy, to open investigations that could be damaging to his political rivals, including former Vice President Joe Biden.

    Nadler gave Trump a deadline of 6 pm on Sunday to say whether he or his attorney plans to participate in the hearing.
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