The Trump administration will not be sending counsel to this week's impeachment inquiry hearings as the House Judiciary Committee takes the baton from the Intelligence Committee, White House counsel Pat Cipollone informed the panel this weekend. Judiciary Chairman Jerry Nadler shared his disappointment.
NEW Nadler statement on WH declining to send counsel to impeachment hearing:— Olivia Beavers (@Olivia_Beavers) December 2, 2019
"The American people deserve transparency. If the President thinks the call was 'perfect' and there is nothing to hide then he would turn over the thousands of pages of documents requested by Congress"
"His response is unfortunate because allowing the president to participate has been a priority for the House from the outset," Nadler added.
If Trump truly believed his phone call with the Ukrainian president was "perfect," then he'd have no problem being more cooperative with their inquiry, the chairman argued.
As Cipollone explained, there are a few problems. In his letter to Nadler, the White House counsel rejected the Democrats’ argument that their impeachment inquiry is affording President Trump the same due process that President Clinton got during his impeachment proceedings. For instance, during that 1990s scandal, the Judiciary Committee allowed committee members two and a half weeks to prepare their questions. As Cipollone points out, the hearing was scheduled for only five days out from the day they received Nadler’s latest invitation.
“Today, by contrast, you have afforded the president no scheduling input, no meaningful information, and so little time to prepare that you have effectively denied the Administration a fair opportunity to participate,” Cipollone notes.
Clinton was also allowed to call over a dozen witnesses. The same doesn't appear to be true for Trump. This time around, it's all secrecy and closed-door depositions, and the administration sees no way that the president would be compelled to participate in such an environment.
"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," Cipollone writes. "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."
The timing of the Wednesday hearing is another red flag. Before he left for London on Monday to attend this week's NATO summit, President Trump told the press that Democrats should be ashamed of themselves.
"It's a disgrace what they're doing to our country," he said.