What’s next in impeachment: Judiciary Committee takes charge

Jerrold Nadler wearing a suit and tie House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerry Nadler holds a news conference to discuss the Committee's oversight agenda following the Mueller Hearing in Washington

Neither President Donald Trump nor his attorneys will participate in Wednesday's House Judiciary Committee impeachment hearing, they said late Sunday.

They contend Trump abused his office by requesting Ukraine's new president announce investigations of Joe and Hunter Biden, as well as the Democratic National Committee, in exchange for a military aid package and a White House meeting.

Counsel to President Pat Cipollone sent a letter to Nadler on Sunday, saying: "Under the current circumstances, we do not intend to participate in your Wednesday hearing".

President Trump will be in London for the upcoming North Atlantic Treaty Organisation summit at the time of the hearing, which was cited by Cipollone among other things to question the fairness of the impeachment along with other factors.

The House Select Committee on intelligence, who held a series of hearings in both public and closed door settings over the past few weeks, would begin deliberations on its report on Monday.

The inquiry was set off by reports that an anonymous intelligence staffer filed a complaint that Trump allegedly misused his power by withholding aid to Ukraine in favor of politically advantageous investigations, which Trump and officials in Kyiv have denied.

Schiff has said "there's nothing for me to testify about", that he isn't a "fact" witness and that Republicans are only trying to "mollify the president, and that's not a good reason to try to call a member of Congress as a witness".

Congressional investigators have been investigating whether Trump abused his power by pressing Ukraine to initiate investigations into former Democratic Vice President Joe Biden, who is running to unseat him in the 2020 presidential elections, and a discredited conspiracy theory in which Ukraine, not Russian Federation, interfered in the 2016 United States presidential elections.

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Mr Nadler wrote to President Trump last Wednesday, inviting him to attend the hearing.

The counsel said the White House "fully reserves the right to respond further" if Nadler releases more information about the committee's plans for the December 4 hearing.

"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.

If Mr Trump was convicted by a two-thirds majority - an outcome deemed highly unlikely - he would become the first U.S. president to be removed from office through impeachment.

Collins said Schiff has compared himself to a special counsel and that he should therefore have to testify before the House Judiciary Committee, like Ken Starr, the special prosecutor appointed to then-President Bill Clinton's impeachment case, did in 1998.

"My first and foremost witness is Adam Schiff", Collins said on Fox News Sunday. He said that Republican attempts to question him would show "they're not serious in what they're doing". In an interview with ABC News last month, he said that his tenure on the board was a political error but defended his work in Ukraine and China. "I think it's going to be a tremendous boon for Republicans".

The legal expert, former federal prosecutor Elie Honig, went on CNN's New Day program to explain what he believed would be in the House of Representatives' official articles of impeachment.

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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