White House says it will not participate in Wednesday's Trump impeachment hearing

Adam Schiff holding a sign Committee ranking member Rep. Adam Schiff speaks during a hearing before the House Intelligence Committee

The report is expected to be forwarded to the House Judiciary Committee for consideration of articles of impeachment against Trump.

White House Counsel Pat Cipollone wrote a five-page letter to House Judiciary Chairman Jerrold Nadler (D-NY) on Sunday, rejecting participation in what Cipollone called a "baseless and highly partisan" impeachment inquiry.

Cipollone said Nadler's invitation was vague and contained "little information" about the upcoming hearing while accusing the Democrats of "no doubt purposely" scheduling it for when Trump would be in Britain for a North Atlantic Treaty Organisation summit.

"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.

Cipollone's letter applied only to the Wednesday hearing, and he demanded more information from Democrats on how they meant to conduct further hearings before Trump would decide whether to participate in those hearings. Separately, Nadler gave the White House a deadline of Friday, Dec. 6, to participate in the broader inquiry.

"There, Chairman Schiff attempted to concoct a false narrative through selective citation of the testimony of witnesses of his choosing, after vetting them during closed-door depositions hidden from both the President and the American public", he wrote. But the report was expected to focus mostly on whether Trump abused his office by withholding military aid approved by Congress and a White House meeting as he pressed Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy to launch investigations into Trump's political rivals.

The impeachment proceedings, he said, is a complete American waste of time.

When questioned whether he was aware Trump pressured Ukraine to investigate Joe and Hunter Biden in exchange for a White House meeting or USA military aid, Reeker replied, "I do not recall that specifically, no", according to transcripts (pdf) released last week by the House Intelligence Committee.

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One article, according to lawmakers and aides involved in the impeachment inquiry, is nearly certain to include what they consider is Trump's abuse of power surrounding his dealings with Ukraine - a situation that Schiff and others have called "bribery", specifically stated as an impeachable offense in the Constitution.

Democrats want to hear from former national security adviser John Bolton, acting White House chief of staff Mick Mulvaney and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo. "It makes the stakes seem higher than they are", a Trump administration official said, according to Axios. He said Schiff himself should be called to testify before the panel.

"We're not going to play games with them", Val Demings, a Democratic member of the Judiciary Committee, told ABC on Sunday.

"Our job is to follow the facts, apply the law, be guided by the USA constitution and present the truth to the American people no matter where it leads, because no one is above the law", Jeffries told Fox.

Democrats were aiming for a final House vote by Christmas, which would set the stage for a likely Senate trial in January. "This is why this is a problematic exercise and simply a made-for-TV event coming on Wednesday".

One Republican on the committee, Tom McClintock, told Fox that he believed top Trump aides "absolutely" should testify.

"I think both Russian Federation and Ukraine meddled in the 2016 election", Kennedy told host Chuck Todd on NBC News's "Meet the Press" on Sunday. He appeared on "Fox News Sunday".

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