The White House said Sunday that it would not participate in the first political trial hearings before the House Judicial Committee while the Democrats were preparing to approve a report justifying the removal of President Donald Trump.
The Democratic majority in the House of Representatives Intelligence Committee says their report will speak for itself when presenting possible bribery charges or "high crimes and offenses," the constitutional standard for dismissal in the United States.
The Judicial Committee prepares the actual charges after receiving the report.
The first hearing of that committee is scheduled for Wednesday and is expected to have four legal experts to examine constitutional issues in relation to any article of political trial.
The White House was invited to attend the hearing, but her lawyer refused in a letter of fire released Sunday night.
"This unfounded and highly partisan investigation violates all previous historical precedents, the basic rights of due process and fundamental equity," said White House lawyer Pat Cipollone, continuing the west wing attack on the procedural form of the proceedings. of political judgment.
The White House decision was in response to the first of the two crucial deadlines it faces in Congress this week.
The Judiciary Committee, considering the charges known as political trial articles, had given Trump until 6pm (23:00 GMT) on Sunday to say if he would send a lawyer to participate in the judicial panel process on Wednesday.
"We cannot justly expect us to participate in a hearing while the witnesses have not yet been appointed and although it is not clear whether the Judicial Committee will provide the President with a fair process through additional hearings," Cipollone wrote, according to a copy of the letter. Seen by Reuters.
He added that the White House would respond separately before Friday's deadline on whether Trump would mount a defense in new political trial procedures.
Audiences & # 39; ridiculous & # 39;
The Democratic staff of the Judiciary Committee did not immediately respond to a request for comment on the White House's refusal to participate in the hearing, which would have been the first direct involvement of the Trump camp in a process that the president has condemned as a " Witch hunt,quot; ".
Congressional investigators have been investigating whether Trump abused his power by pressing Ukraine to initiate investigations into former Democratic Vice President Joe Biden, who is running to unseat him in the 2020 presidential elections, and a discredited conspiracy theory in which Ukraine , not Russia, interfered in the 2016 United States presidential elections.
Hearings before the Judiciary Committee, which is responsible for drawing up any formal charges against Trump, is an important step towards possible charges.
The Democratic president of the House of Representatives, Nancy Pelosi, who will make the final decision, has not yet said whether the Republican president should be dismissed. But in a letter to supporters last week, she asked to be held accountable for her actions.
Trump has denied acting badly.
Three research panels, led by the House of Representatives Intelligence Committee, will publish a formal report this week when lawmakers return Tuesday after the Thanksgiving holiday. The report will describe the evidence gathered by the Intelligence, Foreign Affairs and Supervision committees.
The intelligence panel members will review the report in a classified environment on Monday night, and the entire committee will consider it and vote on Tuesday before submitting it to the Judiciary Committee, according to an Intelligence Committee official and a person familiar with the matter. . .
Trump previously suggested that he might be willing to offer a written testimony under certain conditions, although attendees suggested they did not anticipate that Democrats would agree with them.
"Democrats are holding the most ridiculous political trial hearings in history. Read the transcripts, NOTHING was done or said wrong!" Trump tweeted on Saturday.
The Judicial Committee of the House of Representatives could vote if it will recommend articles of political judgment within the next two weeks, setting the stage for a possible political trial vote throughout the House before Christmas, according to Democratic advisors.
If the House dismisses Trump, the Republican-controlled Senate will hold a trial to determine whether he should be removed from office. Senate Republicans have shown little appetite for dismissing the president.