White House says it won't participate in impeachment hearing

CBSNews

The White House said Sunday night that it will not be participating in the House Judiciary Committee's upcoming impeachment inquiry hearing on Wednesday, White House counsel Pat Cipollone said in a five-page letter. 

Committee chairman Jerry Nadler told the White House on November 26 that it had until December 1 to decide if it would participate, and the White House was not expected to do so. The White House was offered the option of sending someone to represent the president.

The letter from Cipollone accused Nadler of intentionally scheduling the hearing to interfere with President Trump's trip to the NATO summit in London later this week. It called the Democrats' impeachment inquiry "baseless" and "partisan."

Cipollone also said Nadler had provided "little information" about the hearing.    

"We understand from rumors 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," the letter said.

Nadler has yet to publicly identify who will be called. The top Republican on the Judiciary Committee, Congressman Doug Collins, on Saturday requested that an equal number of Republican and Democratic witnesses be called.

On Friday, the committee said the White House had until December 6 to decide if it would participate in future hearings by suggesting witnesses, accessing evidence or presenting evidence. The White House has not yet responded to that deadline.

The House Intelligence Committee is expected to release a report Monday revealing what members found after collecting evidence for weeks about whether Mr. Trump abused power by pressuring Ukraine to investigate political rivals. Members are expected to vote Tuesday evening about whether to formally approve the report's findings.

Weijia Jiang contributed to this report.

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