White House Says President Will Not Participate In Nadler’s Impeachment Investigation
“Chairman Schiff’s carefully controlled and blatantly unfair process served only to further confirm that the President has done nothing wrong and that there is no basis for continuing your inquiry.”
White House Counsel Pat Cipollone penned a long letter to House Judiciary Chairman Jerrold Nadler saying that the White House would not participate in, what he called, Nadler’s “highly partisan” hearing.
The president’s counsel had until 6 p.m. Eastern on Sunday, December 1 to respond to Nadler’s invitation to have them participate in his committee’s impeachment inquiry, and respond they did.
Defying Historic Precedent
“I write in response to your letter of November 26, 2019, to President Trump regarding the purported ‘impeachment inquiry’ currently being conducted by Democrats in the House of Representatives (‘House’). As you know, this baseless and highly partisan inquiry violates all past historical precedent, basic due process rights, and fundamental fairness. Your letter asked that the President notify the House Committee on the Judiciary (‘Judiciary Committee’ or ‘Committee”’ by December 1, 2019, whether the Administration intends to participate in a hearing scheduled for December 4, 2019. You scheduled this initial hearing-no doubt purposely-during the time that you know the President will be out of the country attending the NATO Leaders Meeting in London,” Cipollone said.
“Your letter provides little information about the upcoming hearing. It vaguely indicates that you intend to hold a hearing to discuss the ‘historical and constitutional basis of impeachment.’ We understand from rumors and press reports (though not from any notice provided in your letter or in the official notice of the hearing) that the hearing will consist of an academic discussion by law professors. We understand this to mean that your initial hearing will include no fact witnesses at all. You also sent another letter on November 29, 2019, setting a different deadline of December 6 for the President to provide notice as to whether the Administration intends to participate in additional, unspecified hearings that apparently will occur after that date and to specify the rights the President wishes to exercise at these additional hearings.
“Again, your letter provided no information whatsoever as to the dates these hearings will occur, what witnesses will be called, what the schedule will be, what the procedures will be, or what rights, if any, the Committee intends to afford the President. In other words, you have given no information regarding your plans, set arbitrary deadlines, and then demanded a response, all to create the false appearance of providing the President some rudimentary process. In any event, this letter responds only to your letter of November 26 and fully reserves the right to respond further when and if you release more information about the December 4 hearing. We will respond separately to your letter of November 29 by your requested deadline of Friday, December 6,” he said.
No Due Process
Cipollone attacked the House Intelligence Committee, headed by California Rep. Adam Schiff, for violating the president’s due process rights in order to create its own narrative.
“The President was not allowed to present evidence, to call witnesses, to cross examine witnesses, or even to see transcripts until weeks after testimony had been taken, and he was allowed absolutely no participation in the public hearings that followed. Further, witness requests made by Republicans were denied. In addition, certain questioning of the witnesses who did testify was censored by Democrats,” he said.
“Despite the fundamental unfairness of those hearings, the facts that emerged even from Chairman Schiff’s carefully controlled and blatantly unfair process served only to further confirm that the President has done nothing wrong and that there is no basis for continuing your inquiry. Inviting the Administration now to participate in an after-the-fact constitutional law seminar-with yet-to-be-named witnesses-only demonstrates further the countless procedural deficiencies that have infected this inquiry from its inception and shows the lack of seriousness with which you are undertaking these proceedings. An academic discussion cannot retroactively fix an irretrievably broken process,” he said.
Cipollone did leave open the possibility of participating in the process in a meaningful way and were allowed to call witnesses, something Nadler has denied. He also invited Nadler to meet with him.