White House tells Democrats it won't participate in Trump impeachment hearings

White House tells Democrats it won't participate in Trump impeachment hearings

THE WHITE HOUSE has torn into the House's impeachment inquiry as "completely baseless" and a "reckless abuse of power".

But a senior administration official told the Associated Press after the two-paragraph letter was released that that was the point it was meant to communicate.

A new poll by the consulting firm Emerson showed that President Trump's approval rating rose, while the impeachment inquiry advances, to 48%, surpassing that of disapproval.

They might also include a charge of "bribery" based on Trump's decision to withhold the military aid and stall on granting Zelenskiy a coveted White House visit the new president was seeking as a show of support from the USA, its most important ally.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi on Thursday asked the US judiciary committee to draw up articles of impeachment - formal charges - against Trump.

Here's what the report said.

The letter addressed to the Democratic chairman of the Judiciary Committee, Jerrold Nadler, did not expressly state the White House's refusal to participate.

The historic step sets up a fight in the divided U.S. Congress over whether to remove Trump from office following weeks of hearings and a report summarizing evidence by the House Intelligence Committee.

In a letter last week, Nadler asked the president to notify the committee by Friday at 5 p.m. whether his lawyers would participate in any of their proceedings and whether they plan to present a defense.

Republicans have accused the Democrats of rushing the impeachment process and not giving Trump sufficient opportunity to defend himself. "The speaker has already announced the predetermined result and they will not give us the ability to call any witnesses", the official said. "The president abused his power for his own political benefit at the expense of our national security, by withholding military aid and a crucial Oval Office meeting in exchange for an announcement for an investigation into his political rival".

"House Democrats have wasted enough of America's time with this charade", White House Counsel Pat Cipollone wrote to Nadler. "As George Mason warned at the Constitutional Convention, held in Philadelphia in 1787, 'if we do not provide against corruption, our government will soon be at an end.' Mason evoked a well-known historical truth: when corrupt motives take root, they drive an endless thirst for power and contempt for checks and balances".

The first investigation Mr Trump wanted from Ukraine was into former Vice-President Joe Biden, his main Democratic challenger, and his son Hunter.

Hunter Biden joined the board of Ukrainian energy company Burisma while his father was vice president.

"The President's honesty in an impeachment inquiry, or his lack thereof, can thus shed light on the underlying issue", the report says.

On impeachment, said Representative Jason Crow of Colorado, "constituents ... want to make sure that this isn't being done in lieu of the other work I was sent here to do, on gun violence and some of the kitchen table issues".

A full vote could come later this month.

The former head of Investor's Business Daily, Paul Sperry, published a list of dozens of Democrats who could withdraw their vote on President Trump's impeachment if they hope to succeed in the next elections.

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