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

Trump returns from Florida on Air Force One
(Image credit: Olivier Douliery/AFP via Getty Images)

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.

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Peter Weber, The Week US

Peter has worked as a news and culture writer and editor at The Week since the site's launch in 2008. He covers politics, world affairs, religion and cultural currents. His journalism career began as a copy editor at a financial newswire and has included editorial positions at The New York Times Magazine, Facts on File, and Oregon State University.