Trump not to participate in impeachment hearing: Counsel

Washington: Donald Trump nor his attorney will take part in the impeachment hearing against the US President on Wednesday, his lawyer has said, citing complete lack of “basic due process and fundamental fairness.”
The impeachment hearings are an effort by the Democrats to establish whether Trump withheld US military aid to Ukraine to pressure the Central Asian country’s President Volodymyr Zelensky into announcing a corruption inquiry into Joe Biden, Trump’s leading Democratic Party rival in the US presidential poll in 2020.
The Democrats are alleging that Trump’s call with his Ukrainian counterpart was irregular and inappropriate and abuse of his office for political gain. In a letter to Chairman of the Judiciary Committee of the US House of Representatives Jerrold Nadler dated December 1, Pat Cipollone accused him of “purposely” scheduling the initial hearing at this time as Trump would be out of the country.
“You scheduled this initial hearing-no doubt purposely-during the time that you know the President will be out of the country attending the NATO Leaders Meeting in London,” Trump’s lawyer said in the letter.
“As you know, this baseless and highly partisan inquiry violates all past historical precedent, basic due process rights, and fundamental fairness,” it said.
The letter stated that the Judiciary Committee has afforded the President no scheduling input, no meaningful information, and so little time to prepare that “you have effectively denied the Administration a fair opportunity to participate.”
“We cannot fairly be expected to participate in a hearing while the witnesses are yet to be named and while it remains unclear whether the Judiciary Committee will afford the President a fair process through additional hearings,” it said.
Cipollone also noted that the initial hearing into the president’s impeachment will include “no fact witnesses” at all. “We understand from rumours and press reports (though not from any notice provided in your letter or in the official notice of the hearing) that the hearing will consist of an academic discussion by law professors. We understand this to mean that your initial hearing will include no fact witnesses at all,” he said.
The letter, citing press reports, pointed out that the identities of these witnesses, apparently all academics, have not even been provided to other Democrats on the Judiciary Committee. (PTI)

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