The White House on Friday urged Democrats to move the investigation to open impeachment proceedings against President Donald Trump towards closure. The investigation is being conducted under alleged pressure from Trump to Ukraine to initiate investigations against former Vice President Joe Biden and his son Hunter for alleged corruption in the European country.
“The Democrats in the (Lower) House have wasted enough of America’s time with this farce. They should end this investigation now and not waste any more time with additional hearings” in Congress, White House lawyer Pat Cipollone said in a letter to the chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, Jerrold Nadler.
Cipollone alluded in the letter to Trump’s recent statements in which he said to the Democrats: “If you are going to charge me politically, do it now, quickly, so that we can have a fair trial in the Senate, and our country can return to normal”.
Even so, he warned that drafting the charges for a political trial against the president “would be a reckless abuse of power” by progressive lawmakers and “would constitute the most unfair, highly partisan and unconstitutional attempt at ‘impeachment’ in U.S. history”.
“As you know, his impeachment investigation is totally baseless and has violated the basic principles of due process and essential impartiality,” Cipollone said.
The lawyer also complained that House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, a Democrat, this Thursday ordered members of her bench to begin writing the so-called “impeachment articles,” that is, the charges for a political trial of Trump, before the House Judiciary Committee “has heard any evidence”.
Cipollone’s letter was made public minutes before Trump’s deadline for 22:00 GMT on Friday to inform him if he wanted to participate with a lawyer in the remainder of the proceedings in the Judicial Committee.
In the text, the White House counsel did not expressly clarify what the president’s final decision was, although some local media interpreted the lawyer’s letter as a “no”.
Earlier, presidential mansion spokesman Hogan Gidley said in an interview with Fox News that Trump “welcomes” an eventual impeachment trial in the Republican-dominated Senate with “serious witnesses.
Gidley noted that “if they’re going to do this, if the Democrats want this fight, it’s something the president is willing to do”.
Trump’s pressure on Ukraine was uncovered in a complaint filed by an informant with the intelligence services following a telephone conversation last July between the U.S. president and his Ukrainian counterpart, Volodimir Zelenski.
In September, several House committees, led by the Intelligence Committee, initiated the investigation of Trump, and after completing a report on the inquiries to open a dismissal process, the case is now in the hands of the Judicial Committee.
A total of 520 university professors defended this Friday in a letter published in the Medium platform that Trump’s conduct is politically imputable.
“There is overwhelming evidence that President Trump betrayed his oath of office by seeking to use his presidential power to pressure a foreign government to help him manipulate U.S. elections for his own political and personal benefit,” they said.
The Judicial Committee has the task of defining whether or not those offenses are sufficient to continue the process.
Once the charges are drafted for impeachment, and after approval by this committee, they will be put to a vote in the full House of Representatives, where they are expected to go ahead smoothly given the comfortable majority of Democrats in the 235th versus 199th House.
There is no date at the moment for this vote, but it is pointed out as possible that it will take place before the end of the year.
The actual impeachment will take place in the Senate, where Republicans have a slight majority of 53 against 47 Democrats.
However, the laws require the backing of two-thirds of the Upper House, which would require a vote in favor of Trump’s dismissal of a score of Republican senators, which is highly unlikely.