WASHINGTON – Continuing its refusal to cooperate with impeachment investigators, the White House said Friday it will not be sending a lawyer or any other official to a House Judiciary Committee hearing next week – or likely ever.
"House Democrats have wasted enough of America's time with this charade," White House Counsel Pat Cipollone said in a curt one-page letter to Rep. Jerry Nadler, D-N.Y., chairman of the House Judiciary Committee.
The White House has consistently rejected invitations from House committees to participate in what Trump and his attorneys call needless impeachment hearings.
In response to a request made last Friday by Nadler, Cipollone protested that House Democrats are already drawing up impeachment articles. The White House counsel again claimed the inquiry has "violated basic principles of due process and fundamental fairness" toward the president.
"You should end this inquiry now and not waste even more time with additional hearings," Cipollone told Nadler.
House Democrats said they have no plans to abandon their inquiry, and have indicated that an impeachment vote could come by the end of the year.
On Thursday, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., authorized Democratic committee chairmen to begin drafting articles of impeachment concerning Trump's dealings with the nation of Ukraine.
Trump's critics dismissed the one-page letter that White House sent to Nadler.
“The president and his inner circle may think these snarky letters win them points, and they likely do on social media, but they represent a disturbing lack of professionalism and legal prowess by the White House Counsel’s office," said Bradley P. Moss, a national security lawyer based in Washington, D.C.
"It is more depressing than anything else," he said.
Renato Mariotti, a former federal prosecutor, said White House attorneys have no legal basis to attack the impeachment investigation, so they are reduced to complaints like "unfair" and "baseless."
"The process doesn’t appear to be unfair," he said, "particularly given that Trump has chosen to withhold evidence and witnesses without any basis and has refused to participate when offered the opportunity."
Impeachment investigators are looking at evidence that Trump urged Ukraine to investigate U.S. Democratic political opponents, and threatened to withhold military aid from the country if it did not follow through.
The House Judiciary Committee, which is developing articles of impeachment against the president, has a hearing scheduled for Monday. Democratic and Republican counsels are scheduled to brief members on evidence gathered by three different House committees.
On Sunday, responding to an earlier request from Nadler, the White House also said that "this baseless and highly partisan inquiry violates all past historical precedent, basic due process rights, and fundamental fairness."
No White House officials attended a series of hearings held by the House Intelligence Committee, nor a Wednesday session held by the House Judiciary Committee.
The exchange of letters came as White House officials are already talking with senators about how to approach a likely impeachment trial.
Trump, whose trip to London this week was dominated by impeachment talk, is taking an increasingly negative tone toward the effort.
In tweets on Thursday, Trump told House Democrats to go ahead and impeach him because the Republican Senate will vote to acquit him.
"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," Trump tweeted.
In his letter, Cipollone quoted Trump's tweet, even though the attorney said it would be the "most unjust, highly partisan and unconstitutional attempt at impeachment in our Nation’s history."