Speed Reads

Trump Impeachment Watch

White House declines to participate in House impeachment hearing, claims lack of 'fair opportunity to participate'

White House Counsel Pat Cipollone informed House Judiciary Chairman Jerrold Nadler (D-N.Y.) on Sunday that President Trump and his staff won't participate in the first Judiciary Committee impeachment hearing on Wednesday. He did not rule out White House participation in future impeachment hearings, but suggested House Democrats would first need to make concessions. Nadler has set a Friday deadline for the White House to state its intentions on participating in the House impeachment process, and Cipollone said he would respond to that deadline separately.

Cipollone noted in his five-page letter that the list of Wednesday's witnesses — four constitutional law experts, three picked by Democrats and one by Republicans, are expected to discuss impeachment law and history — has not yet been released, proclaimed Trump's innocence, said pointedly that Trump will be out of the country on Wednesday, and lodged several historically dubious complaints about the "purported" impeachment process up to this point. Nadler has "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 wrote.

Republicans are not in agreement on "the extent to which Trump and his congressional defenders ought to engage" in an impeachment process they are aggressively pushing as "corrupt and unfair," The Washington Post reports. Some Republicans say any engagement legitimizes the impeachment inquiry, while "other Republican lawmakers said Trump could benefit from availing himself of the due-process protections that Nadler has offered, including the right to present evidence, suggest wit­nesses, and cross-examine those called by Democrats to testify."

The House Intelligence Committee is expected to approve its report on Trump's potentially impeachable abuses of power on Tuesday night and send it to the Judiciary Committee, which could draw up articles of impeachment and vote on them within two weeks. That timeline could allow the full House to vote on impeaching Trump before Christmas.