The White House has said US President Donald Trump and his lawyers will not attend the congressional impeachment hearing on Wednesday, citing a lack of “fundamental fairness”.
This is coming a few days after the president tweeted his willingness to testify to get the nation’s government focused again instead of being distracted by the impeachment hearing.
However, the hearing by the House of Representatives Judiciary Committee marks the next stage of the probe, with legal experts giving predictions that it could lead to a vote of impeachment.
It is alleged that the president pressured Ukraine to conduct two investigations for his own political gain which was focused to be a misconduct charge after few weeks of public hearings and interviews.
Last Wednesday, Jerrold Nadler, the chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, invited Mr Trump to attend this week’s hearing , “directly or through a counsel”, saying it would be an opportunity to discuss the historical and constitutional basis for impeachment.
But in a letter to the committee, White House counsel Pat Cipollone accused the committee of a “complete lack of due process and fundamental fairness”, saying the invitation would fail to give the White House adequate time to prepare and did not give information about the witnesses.
In order for Trump to be represented in further hearings, the president’s counsel said, Mr Nadler would need to ensure “that due process rights are protected” and that the process was “fair and just”.
He did not say whether Mr Trump would attend a second hearing, which does not yet have a date, but added that a response would be given by Friday.