White House refuses to participate in political trial hearing

Donald Trump impeachment influence

Adam Schiff first witness for House Judiciary Committee Republicans, Doug Collins says

President Donald Trump slammed House Judiciary Committee on Monday for holding its first impeachment hearing while he is scheduled to depart the usa for a North Atlantic Treaty Organisation leaders meeting in Europe.

The absence of White House participation came after the Judiciary Committee, tasked with considering charges known as articles of impeachment, had given the president until 6 p.m. EST (2300 GMT) on Sunday to say whether he or his legal counsel will participate in an impeachment hearing on Wednesday.

Nadler had last week invited Trump and his attorneys to take part in the first hearing on Wednesday, an invitation which Cipollone declined.

Although Schiff has not ruled out calling additional witnesses should circumstances warrant, the completion of the Intelligence Committee report marks a new phase in the impeachment inquiry - one in which the investigatory baton is being handed from Schiff to Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerrold Nadler (D-N.Y.).

He also accused the Judiciary Committee of deliberately asking the President to be present at the hearings when he is scheduled to participate in the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation summit in London at the time.

"In order to assess our ability to participate in future proceedings, please let us know...whether you intend to allow for fact witnesses to be called...and whether you intend to allow members of the Judiciary Committee and the President's counsel the right to cross examine fact witnesses", the statement said.

The House Intelligence Committee concluded its public hearings prior to the Thanksgiving recess after it heard testimony from a series of current and former Trump administration officials and has spent the Thanksgiving recess drafting a report of its findings.

He said that the House Judiciary Committee will hold a hearing on December 4 about the constitutional grounds for impeachment, and noted that the president himself opted to not send lawyers of his own to testify.

Democrats also were expected to include an article on obstruction of Congress that outlines Trump's instructions to officials in his administration to defy subpoenas for documents or testimony.

"It's easy to hide behind a report", Georgia's Doug Collins, a Republican, who heads the Judiciary Committee, said.

He was referring to a July 25 phone call between President Donald Trump and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky where Trump asked his counterpart to "look into" former Vice President Joe Biden and son Hunter Biden's dealings in the country.

The Hill: "Trump faces uphill 2020 climb" - "President Trump is a slight underdog to win a second term with less than a year to go before the 2020 election".

Rep. Tom McClintock, R-Calif., a member of the Judiciary Committee, said on "This Week" that he thought it "would be to the president's advantage" to have counsel participate in the upcoming hearings.

President Trump departed Washington D.C. Monday to a North Atlantic Treaty Organisation gathering in London and before he left he criticized House Democrats for moving forward with impeachment proceedings.

As the impeachment inquiry intensifies, Wednesday's hearing will be a milestone.

On Monday, Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff, D.

The news comes after President Trump is expected to suffer crumbling support from the USA public, according to analysis from a presidential historian in the wake of the hearings. Trump's approval ratings are mired in the low 40s, and he may remain the first president since modern polling began whose favorability number has never been above 50 percent in a Gallup poll.

Zelensky responded to reporters during the 74th U.N. General Assembly saying "I think you read everything".

A Reuters/Ipsos poll released on November 27 showed that 54% of Americans disapprove of Trump's job performance, while 43% approve.

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