SALT LAKE CITY — Assistants to President Donald Trump can easily answer why neither Mr. Trump nor his attorneys have agreed to appear at the upcoming House Judiciary Committee’s first hearing on impeachment proceedings.
In a five-page letter letter written by White House counsel Pat Cipollone, the White House officially declined an invitation to attend. The letter was delivered on Sunday.
The hearing is scheduled to begin on Wednesday, while Mr. Trump attends a NATO Summit in London.
And the hearing is a farce, according to Special Assistant to the President and Deputy Press Secretary Steven Groves, who spoke with KSL NewsRadio’s Dave Noriega and Debbie Dujanovic on Tuesday morning.
“There isn’t any current reason for the White House to participate in this hearing,” Groves told Dave and Dujanovic.
“The hearing that’s going to happen tomorrow (Wednesday) is about — you know there are three constitutional scholars the Democrats are calling that have already stated their opinion about the president, and their opposition to him, and their support for impeachment or other measures.”
Groves is referring to Noah Feldman, Pamela Karlan, and Michael Gerhardt, who are Harvard, Stanford, and University of North Carolina law professors respectively. Their testimony at the hearing is expected to help solidify the belief of House Democrats that there are constitutional grounds for the impeachment of President Trump. Democrats say Mr. Trump violated his oath of office by trying to leverage military aid to Ukraine.
Groves says the White House wasn’t completely opposed to participating in the House impeachment proceedings.
“Now if the president’s attorney had been allowed to participate in [House Intelligence Committee Chair] Adam Schiff’s hearings,” Grove said, “in the Intelligence Committee when there were actual, factual witnesses testifying that could be cross-examined about the facts, or more to the point, the lack of their personal knowledge of any of these things, that would have been a useful use of time,” Grove said. “For tomorrow’s hearing, it just doesn’t make sense for the White House to participate.”
President Trump addressed the upcoming House Judiciary Committee’s hearings at the NATO conference in London on Wednesday morning. During a speech, the president said he’d have some of his administration attend the proceedings, “when it’s fair, and it’ll be fair in the Senate.”
“I would love to have [Secretary of State] Mike Pompeo, I’d love to have [Senate Majority Leader] Mitch [McConnell],” the president told reporters in London. “I’d love to have [former Energy Secretary] Rick Perry, and many other people testify. But I don’t want them to testify when this is a total fix. You know what a fix is? It’s a fix.”
You can listen to Dave and Dujanovic’s complete interview below: