Published: Sat, December 07, 2019
Global News | By Blake Casey

WH warns Democrats against adopting articles of impeachment

WH warns Democrats against adopting articles of impeachment

"As you know, your impeachment inquiry is completely baseless and has violated basic principles of due process and fundamental fairness", White House chief lawyer Pat Cipollone wrote in a letter to the committee chair, Jerry Nadler.

"House Democrats have wasted enough of America's time with this charade".

Following direction from House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, the committee is set to draft and recommend the articles by December 12, after more than two months investigating, interviewing witnesses and holding hearings into whether the Republican president abused the power of his office.

The committee is expected to draft and approve articles of impeachment by as early as the end of next week, setting up a vote on whether to impeach Trump by the full House before the end of the year.

In return for those investigations, Democrats say Mr Trump offered two bargaining chips - $400m (£304m) of military aid that had already been allocated by Congress, and a White House meeting for President Volodymyr Zelensky.

An aide to Republicans on the Judiciary Committee responded by accusing Nadler of failing to respond to their previous letters outlining concerns with the process, and complaining that he was "rushing to set new deadlines before he has even received the Intelligence Committee's report", which was released the following Monday.

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Trump has been rattling off witnesses he wants to call at a likely Senate trial, but has so far been mum on whether to play ball in the House.

The letter finishes by reminding the committee that President Trump has called - if the impeachment process continues - for a "fair trial in the Senate" to happen soon.

The probe is focusing on a July 25 telephone call in which Trump asked Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky to open an investigation into Biden and his son Hunter, and into a discredited theory promoted by Trump and his allies that Ukraine, not Russian Federation, meddled in the 2016 US election.

An anonymous whistleblower complained to Congress in September about a July phone call by Mr Trump to the president of Ukraine, in which Mr Trump appeared to tie United States military assistance to Ukraine launching investigations which could help him politically. "We gave President Trump a fair opportunity to question witnesses and present his own to address the overwhelming evidence before us", Nadler said.

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

Collins emphasized that "to provide context and transparency" in the ongoing impeachment, "the American people deserve to hear" the testimony of Schiff, as well as the anonymous whistleblower and Hunter Biden, who is a former board member of the Ukrainian energy company Burisma, a key element in the impeachment. With the exception of Vindman, there was little likelihood Nadler would accept the witness list.

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