The White House has indicated that Donald Trump will not take part in the impeachment inquiry. Pat Cipollone, the White House counsel, declined an offer from House Democrats that would have allowed Trump to represent himself in upcoming impeachment hearings.
Cipollone penned a brief two-paragraph letter to House Democrats. In the letter, he stated that the impeachment inquiry is “completely baseless and has violated basic principles of due process and fundamental fairness.”
“House Democrats have wasted enough of America’s time with this charade,” Cipollone continued. “You should end this inquiry now and not waste even more time with additional hearings.”
The decision was not a surprise. Trump and his allies have repeatedly called the impeachment inquiry a “sham” and argued that the proceedings were unfair to Trump.
“The Democrats don’t have any evidence, but they are still going to do it anyway. That’s the sham that’s going on here.” @jasoninthehouse Chaffetz
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) December 2, 2019
On Thursday, Nancy Pelosi announced that the House Democrats were moving ahead with drafting articles of impeachment.
Earlier in the week, Democrats on the House Intelligence Committee released a 300-page report that outlined evidence that they claim shows that Trump abused his office and pressured Ukraine to open investigations into his political rival Joe Biden and his son, Hunter. That investigation would have personally and politically benefited Trump.
Cipollone’s letter did not explicitly state what Trump’s legal team planned to do. The letter ended with a quote from Trump stating that the House should hold a swift vote on impeachment to speed the way for a trial in the Senate, which is Republican-controlled.
…..trial in the Senate, and so that our Country can get back to business. We will have Schiff, the Bidens, Pelosi and many more testify, and will reveal, for the first time, how corrupt our system really is. I was elected to “Clean the Swamp,” and that’s what I am doing!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) December 5, 2019
“Adopting articles of impeachment would be a reckless abuse of power by House Democrats and would constitute the most unjust, highly partisan and unconstitutional attempt at impeachment in our nation’s history,” Mr. Cipollone wrote.
The Judiciary Committee held its first impeachment hearing this week. A group of constitutional scholars testified to discuss the history and meaning of impeachment. The next hearing will be held on Monday and at that time will receive and debate the findings from the House Intelligence Committee’s two-month investigation of Trump’s controversial actions with Ukraine.