US President Donald Trump and his legal team have declined an invitation to appear before an impeachment hearing in the House of Representative on Wednesday, which seeks to probe the US president’s phone call to Ukraine president.
White House counsel Pat Cipollone said in a letter that was addressed to the House Judiciary Committee that Trump couldn’t have been expected to participate ”fairly” without been given ample time to prepare.
Last week, Chairman Jerrold Nadler said the US president Trump could either attend the hearing session or “stop complaining about the process”. The letter only said Trump will not attend the Wednesday session and did not mention if he would honor a second invitation or not.
Rather, It assured it would respond separately to an invitation to attend the second hearing, which have not yet been fixed.
The letter, which was published by Politico, alleged that the House committee completely lack “due process and fundamental fairness” in the inquiry. It stated that the invitation to make appearance on 4 December would not give Mr Trump and his lawyers ample time to prepare for the hearing and didn’t give enough information about the witnesses.
White House counsel Pat Cipollone said press reports revealed that witnesses were “apparently all academics” and would include “no fact witnesses”. He further explained that a fact witness testifies their personal knowledge of events while an expert witness assists the judge by offering an opinion.
The president’s counsel also alleged that the committee handling the impeachment hearing had called three witnesses to testify but have allowed Republicans to call only one witness.
Pat Cipollone slammed Mr Nadler’s claim which points that the process was “consistent” with historical impeachment inquiries, referencing that President Bill Clinton had a fairer hearing in 1998.
Mr Cipollone said in order for president Donald Trump to be represented in any of the House hearings, Mr Nadler must ensure “that due process rights are protected” and that the process was “fair and just.”