News Update

Trump impeachment: Trump, his lawyers will not attend impeachment hearing: White House

Washington, Dec 2 United States President Donald Trump and his lawyers will not attend an impeachment hearing in the House of Representatives on Wednesday, The White House said in a letter here on Tuesday.

The letter, published by Politico, accused the House committee of a “complete lack of due process and fundamental fairness” in the inquiry.

It said the invitation to attend on December 4 would fail to give the White House adequate time to prepare for the hearing and did not give information about the witnesses.

Mr Trump could not be expected to participate “fairly”, White House counsel Pat Cipollone said in a letter to the House Judiciary Committee. Last week, Chairman Jerrold Nadler said Mr Trump could either attend or “stop complaining about the process”.

The White House did not say whether Mr Trump would attend a second hearing. It said it would respond separately to an invitation to the second hearing – which does not yet have a date set – by Friday.

The hearing on Wednesday will mark the next stage in the impeachment inquiry, which centres on a July phone call between Mr Trump and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky.

In that call, President Trump asked Mr Zelensky to investigate Joe Biden, currently the front runner to be the Democratic candidate in next year’s presidential election, and his son Hunter Biden, who had previously worked for Ukrainian energy company Burisma.

The probe is looking into whether Mr Trump used the threat of withholding US military aid to pressure Ukraine into investigating the Bidens. The president has denied any wrongdoing and has called the inquiry a “witch hunt”.

Last week, the House Intelligence Committee wrapped up two weeks of public hearings, which followed several weeks of closed-door witness interviews.