Dems extend deadline for Trump's lawyers on impeachment hearings

Nadler and Schiff

Blue State Blues White House Should Boycott Jerry Nadler’s Impeachment Farce 4Saul Loeb AFP Getty Joel B. Pollak29 Nov 2019

The President's team has seven days to decide how much it will participate in the remaining impeachment proceedings.

The letters from the New York Democrat came as the House impeachment probe enters a new phase with a hearing next week on whether Trump's actions might constitute impeachable offenses.

After weeks of closed-door witness depositions and televised hearings, three investigating panels led by the House Intelligence Committee are due to release a formal report soon after lawmakers return to Congress on Tuesday from a Thanksgiving recess. Top aides to Trump have defied congressional subpoenas to testify, and White House Counsel Pat Cipollone has deemed the House's probe "illegitimate".

The Democratic-led House Judiciary Committee, which is due to begin weighing possible articles of impeachment against Trump next week, sent a two-page letter to the president setting a deadline of 5 p.m. EDT (2200 GMT) on December 6 for the president's counsel to specify intended actions under the committee's impeachment procedures.

House rules say Trump and his lawyers are welcome to attend committee presentations of evidence, raise objections, ask questions, and request their own witnesses.

This report will become the basis for the Judiciary Committee's impeachment proceedings, which are expected to focus heavily on the President's relationship with Ukraine.

Collins also noted in his letter that during the 1998 impeachment inquiry against former President Bill Clinton, the House Judiciary assembled two panels consisting of ten and nine academics each.

The White House has called the process a "hoax" and argued that Trump did nothing wrong when he asked Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky for a "favor" while holding back nearly $400 million in military aid from Ukraine.

Earlier scrutiny by Ukrainians uncovered no wrongdoing by the Bidens but Trump, in July, asked Zelenskiy for an investigation as a "favor", while holding up military aid to that country for several months.

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