President Trump and his attorneys will not participate in House Judiciary Committee impeachment hearing on Wednesday, the White House said Sunday. The president’s team did leave open the possibility to join future inquiries. Team Trump is instead passing the baton to his GOP allies on the panel, namely Reps. Jim Jordan, John Ratcliffe, and Matt Gaetz, to defend him during the Judiciary Committee’s first impeachment hearing. In a letter on Sunday to Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerrold Nadler, a Democratic New York Congressman, White House Counsel Pat Cipollone wrote, “Under the current circumstances, we do not intend to participate in your Wednesday hearing,” adding that “an invitation to an academic discussion with law professors does not begin to provide the president with any semblance of a fair process.” The first hearing will involve a panel of constitutional scholars and law professors informed about the impeachment process and in discussion with lawmakers, they will assess the allegations against Trump to determine whether or not they constitute “high crimes and misdemeanors.”
On Tuesday night, the House Intelligence Committee is set to vote on and subsequently approve its report recommending that Trump be removed from office over allegations that he enlisted Ukraine, a foreign power, to investigate his political rivals, namely former Vice President Joe Biden and his son, Hunter Biden. The pressure campaign is at the heart of the House impeachment inquiry, which has called 12 witnesses to testify over the past few weeks. Nadler is still awaiting Trump’s response on whether or not he will be involved in any capacity of the Judiciary Committee’s impeachment inquiries. “I remain committed to ensuring a fair and informative process,” he wrote to the president last week.