White House Tells Democrats It Won't Participate In Next Week's Impeachment Hearings

As was widely expected, late on Friday the White House said it won’t participate in Monday’s hearing by the House Judiciary Committee.

White House Counsel Pat Cipollone called the impeachment inquiry a "reckless abuse of power" in a letter to Judiciary Chairman Jerry Nadler ahead of a Friday deadline he set for the president to indicate whether his representatives would seek to call or cross-examine any witnesses or submit evidence. The letter didn’t say explicitly whether Trump would participate in the hearing, although it was strongly implied.

“House Democrats have wasted enough of America’s time with this charade,” Cipollone wrote. “You should end this inquiry now and not waste even more time with additional hearings. Adopting articles of impeachment would be a reckless abuse of power by House Democrats, and would constitute the most unjust, highly partisan, and unconstitutional attempt at impeachment in our Nation’s history.”

The letter quoted Trump, who said earlier this week that "if you are going to impeach me, do it now, fast, so we can have a fair trial in the Senate, and so that our country can get back to business."

As a reminder, on Wednesday House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerry Nadler, D-N.Y., will pick up the baton from his Intelligence Committee counterpart Adam Schiff., as the House’s impeachment inquiry moves to the next step - but it is a far cry for Nadler from 1998, when he warned that an impeachment would “overturn the popular will of the voters.”

“The effect of impeachment is to overturn the popular will of the voters,” Nadler said on the House floor during the Clinton impeachment hearings, in footage unearthed by Grabien. "We must not overturn an election and remove a president from office except to defend our system of government or constitutional liberties against a dire threat, and we must not do so without an overwhelming consensus of the American people.”