White House says it won't take part in Trump impeachment hearing

On Dec. 5, moments after Pelosi asked House chairmen to write articles of impeachment to begin the fourth phase-after weeks of hearings-of President Trump's impeachment inquiry, Kildee warned that his constituents were not as interested in the impeachment process as they were in dealing with their day-to-day difficulties, the Daily Caller reported. Cipollone's letter did not totally foreclose on the possibility but the letter was sent as a deadline for the president to participate passed.

New York Democrat Anthony Brindisi, narrowly elected to a district Trump carried by 12 percentage points, said he's right in the middle: "I'm totally undecided".

The White House chief lawyer has slammed the impeachment hearings, calling for an end to the inquiry.

Trump's non-participation is unprecedented.

However, that number remains unchanged from the last poll, despite this being the central finding of the House Intelligence Committee's impeachment report. Those articles will then be amended and marked up by the committee before being voted on and, if passed, sent to the full House.

Rep. Dan Kildee (D-Mich.) said he was considering ending his support for House Speaker Nancy Pelosi's initiative to impeach President Donald Trump.

"Having declined this opportunity, he can not claim that the process is unfair".

In releasing the report, the panel's Democratic chairman, Jerrold Nadler, said impeachment was the only way to hold the Republican president to account.

"We don't see any reason to participate because the process is unfair", said a senior administration official.

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Pelosi accused Trump of abusing his power by asking a foreign government to interfere in an American election for his own political benefit at the expense of USA national security. The committee could draft and recommend the articles by next Thursday and the full Democratic-led House could vote on them by Christmas.

Republicans hope to win back some seats next year, including 31 congressional districts that voted for Trump in 2016.

Pelosi said earlier on 6 December, when questioned about the possibility the White House would decline to participate, that this was the opportunity for the president to "show innocence".

Though Nadler did not immediately respond to the Republican witness requests, he said of Trump's refusal to participate: "Having declined this opportunity, he can not claim that the process is unfair". Nadler's committee is to meet starting Monday to review the evidence from investigators and decide whether to charge Trump with abuse of power, bribery and obstruction.

At the center of the investigation is a July 25 phone call Trump had with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy during which Kyiv was prodded to open investigations into Trump's political rivals.

The impeachment process began in September after an anonymous whistleblower complained to Congress about a July phone call by Mr Trump to the president of Ukraine, in which Mr Trump appeared to tie U.S. military assistance to Ukraine launching investigations which could help him politically. Besides Schiff, the list includes Hunter Biden and his business partner Devon Archer, who both sat on the board of a Ukraine energy company Burisma, which Trump allegedly pressured Zelensky to investigate. Trump has accused the Bidens of corruption.

Democrats also have accused Trump of abusing his power by withholding US$391 million (S$530 million) in security aid to Ukraine - a vulnerable United States ally facing Russian aggression - and holding back a coveted White House meeting with Zelenskiy as leverage to pressure Kiev into investigating the Bidens.

President Richard Nixon resigned before he could be impeached.

  • Sonia Alvarado