The White House blasted House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerrold Nadler Friday for running a “completely baseless” impeachment inquiry, signaling that President Trump won’t participate in new hearings next week.
In a letter to Mr. Nadler, White House Counsel Pat Cipollone said drafting articles of impeachment against Mr. Trump would be a “reckless abuse of power.” He said the impeachment probe “has violated basic principles of due process and fundamental fairness,” and criticized House Speaker Nancy Pelosi for ordering Democrats to proceed with articles of impeachment “before your committee has heard a single shred of evidence.”
“House Democrats have wasted enough of America’s time with this charade,” Mr. Cipollone told the New York Democrat. “You should end this inquiry now and not waste even more time with additional hearings. 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 added, “Whatever course you choose, as the president has recently stated: ‘if you are going to impeach me, do it now, fast, so we can have a fair trial in the Senate, and so that our country can get back to business.’”
The Judiciary Committee held one hearing this week, taking testimony from law professors about the historical and legal standards for impeachment. The committee plans to hold another hearing on Monday as it considers specific articles of impeachment for a possible vote later this month regarding Mr. Trump’s handling of military aid for Ukraine.
“We are disappointed that the president has once again failed to provide those answers here,” Mr. Nadler said in a statement. “We gave President Trump a fair opportunity to question witnesses and present his own to address the overwhelming evidence before us. After listening to him complain about the impeachment process, we had hoped that he might accept our invitation.”
He added, “If the president has no good response to the allegations, then he would not want to appear before the committee. Having declined this opportunity, he cannot claim that the process is unfair. The president’s failure will not prevent us from carrying out our solemn constitutional duty.”