Trump's decision not to take part in impeachment hearing 'unfortunate' -chairman

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The White House informed the House Judiciary Committee on Sunday that it will not attend the panel's first impeachment inquiry into President Donald Trump scheduled for Wednesday.

Democratic lawmakers in Congress will take a big step this week in what appears to be a now inexorable march toward impeaching U.S. President Donald Trump, with the start of hearings seen as a precursor to formal charges being announced within weeks.

In a 5-page letter released Sunday evening, Pat Cipollone, the White House counsel, declined an offer extended by Judiciary Committee Chairman Rep.

The Democratic majority on the House Intelligence Committee says its report will speak for itself in laying out possible charges of bribery or "high crimes and misdemeanors", the constitutional standard for impeachment.

The panel will vote on the report on Tuesday, sending it to the Judiciary Committee to weigh articles of impeachment.

House Democrats are conducting an impeachment inquiry into whether Trump abused his office by pressuring Ukraine to pursue investigations that could benefit him politically.

The chairman set the same deadline for Republicans on his committee to name the witnesses they plan to ask permission to subpoena.

The hearing on Wednesday marks the next stage in the impeachment inquiry, which centres on a July phone call between Mr Trump and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky.

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Congressional investigators have been looking into whether Mr Trump abused his power by pressuring Ukraine to launch investigations of former Democratic Vice President Joe Biden, who is running to unseat him in the 2020 presidential election, and a discredited conspiracy theory that Ukraine, not Russian Federation, interfered in the 2016 United States presidential election.

Trump claims that he has done nothing wrong and, while the House puts forward an ambitious timetable for a vote to dismiss, the President and his Republican allies are aligning against the process. As Cipollone points out, the hearing was scheduled for only five days out from the day they received Nadler's latest invitation.

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This story was first published on CNN.com, "White House will not participate in Judiciary Committee hearing." .

"If he chooses not to (testify), then I really question his veracity in what he's putting in his report", said Rep. Doug Collins, the top Republican on the Judiciary Committee.

If Mr Trump was convicted by a two-thirds majority - an outcome deemed highly unlikely - he would become the first USA president to be removed from office through impeachment. "We're going to go encourage them to do that, and do it more quickly".

"My first and foremost witness is Adam Schiff", Collins said on Fox News Sunday. Nor does it use the sneaky speeches of politicians, "said McClintock". McConnell has said he didn't know how long a trial would take, noting that the Senate spent two months dealing with the Clinton impeachment once the House transmitted articles of impeachment. They've all been proven to be untrue and to be things that Trump and Republicans don't actually care about or even want.

"Speaker Pelosi remains absolutely committed, so I just think she is hell bent on getting this wrapped up by the end of the year", Rep. Jim Himes, D-Conn., a member of the House Intelligence Committee, told reporters last week.

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