The White House is saying it will not participate in the House Judiciary Committee’s upcoming impeachment hearing. In a Sunday evening statement, the administration said neither the president nor his legal team can be fairly expected to participate in a hearing while the witnesses have yet to be named.
Officials added it’s unclear whether the president will be given a fair process through additional hearings. They requested more witnesses to be allowed to testify and cross-examined.
“In order to assess our ability to participate in future proceedings, please let us know…whether you intend to allow for fact witnesses to be called…and whether you intend to allow members of the Judiciary Committee and the President’s counsel the right to cross-examine fact witnesses,” the statement said.
#BREAKING on @OANN: The White House responds to the House Judiciary Committee's request for the President and/or his counsel to participate in this Wednesday's hearings, saying they cannot be expected to participate without affording the President a fair process. #OANN pic.twitter.com/L52ZH74Nan
— Adonis Albright (@AdonisAlbright) December 2, 2019
This comes as the impeachment inquiry into President Trump is moving into its next phase. Last week, House Judiciary Committee head Jerry Nadler invited President Trump and his attorneys to participate in Wednesday’s proceedings. Nadler sent the president a letter and requested his reply by Sunday.
— ABC News (@ABC) November 26, 2019
Politico reported if Nadler follows the model of former President Bill Clinton’s impeachment, the second set of hearings would see Intelligence Chairman Adam Schiff and others presenting their findings to the Judiciary Committee. A third phase would allow the White House and the president to present evidence and witnesses on their behalf. A final phase would consider articles of impeachment before sending them to the House floor.
Now that the president has declined to attend the hearing, it’s unclear if the third phase will happen.
The committee is expected to hear from a panel of experts, who will discuss the Constitution and whether President Trump’s alleged actions can be considered “high crimes and misdemeanors.” The committee has yet to announce who will be on the panel.
Reports pointed out there are 41 members of the Judiciary Committee, compared to 23 members of the Intelligence Committee, so viewers can expect the hearings to be significantly longer.