President Donald Trump and lawyers refuse to attend impeachment hearing
2 December 2019, 16:33 | Updated: 2 December 2019, 17:46
President Donald Trump and his lawyers will not attend a “fundamentally unfair” impeachment hearing, the White House has said.
His counsel, Pat Cipollone, wrote to the House Judiciary Committee on Sunday claiming the Democrat-led congressional investigation is "baseless and highly partisan.”
Mr Cipollone also claimed that the hearing had been deliberately scheduled for a day when Mr Trump is in London at the NATO Leaders Meeting.
The President denies pressuring the Ukrainian government to investigate his political rival Joe Biden.
The Do Nothing Democrats get 3 Constitutional lawyers for their Impeachment hoax (they will need them!), the Republicans get one. Oh, that sounds fair!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) December 2, 2019
In a letter to Committee Chairman Jerrold Nadler, Mr Cipollone said, "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.
“More importantly, an invitation to an academic discussion with law professors does not begin to provide the President with a semblance of a fair process.
“Accordingly, under the current circumstances, we do not intend to participate in your Wednesday hearing."
The panel will hold multiple public meetings before deciding whether to set up a House vote before Christmas.
It would make Mr Trump just the third US President in history to be impeached.