White House refuses judiciary’s invite to participate in impeachment probe

President Donald Trump's White House lawyer, Pat Cipollone, called the impeachment inquiry "completely baseless." Photo by Kevin Dietsch/UPI

Dec. 6 (UPI) — The White House notified the House judiciary committee on Friday it won’t participate with the panel’s impeachment investigation into President Donald Trump.

White House counsel Pat Cipollone sent a letter to judiciary committee Chairman Jerrold Nadler, D-N.Y., meeting a Friday deadline set by the panel for the president’s attorneys to determine whether they’ll cooperate with the inquiry. Cipollone said he considered the impeachment probe to be “completely baseless.””As you know, your impeachment inquiry is completely baseless and has violated basic principles of due process and fundamental fairness,” he wrote.

The letter comes one day after House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., asked committee chairmen leading the inquiry to move forward with articles of impeachment. If the chamber votes to impeach, the case would move to the Senate for trial.

“House Democrats have wasted enough of America’s time with this charade,” Cipollone wrote. “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.”

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The House judiciary committee began holding hearings this week as part of the impeachment inquiry, joining a probe headed by the foreign affairs, intelligence, and oversight and reform committees. On Wednesday, three legal experts testified Trump committed impeachable offenses in his conduct with Ukraine. A fourth disagreed.

Pelosi officially announced the impeachment inquiry Sept. 24, enveloping existing investigations into Trump’s July 25 phone call with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky under the umbrella of the probe. The investigations were prompted by a whistle-blower report about the call, accusing Trump of pressuring a foreign government to investigate a political rival — Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden and his son, Hunter Biden.

The committees are attempting to determine whether Trump withheld $250 million in military aid and a one-on-one meeting between the two leaders in exchange for a Biden investigation. The Trump administration officially released the military aid in installments in September.

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