House Judiciary Committee chairman Rep. Jerry Nadler (D-NY) wrote to President Donald Trump Friday, giving him until Friday, Dec. 6., to answer whether he and his lawyers would participate in the “impeachment inquiry.”
Nadler’s letter quotes the forthcoming report from the House Intelligence Committee, which will be written entirely by Democrats and which will recommend drafting articles of impeachment against the president. The report will state that there was “a months-long effort in which President Trump again sought foreign interference in our elections for his personal and political benefit at the expense of our national interest”; and that the president conducted “an unprecedented campaign of obstruction in an effort to prevent the Committees from obtaining documentary evidence and testimony.”
The word “again” suggests that the House Intelligence Committee will not limit its report to allegations that Trump invited Ukraine to interfere in the 2020 election, but will also state that Trump sought Russian interference in the 2016 election — even though Special Counsel Robert Mueller found there to be no evidence of such collusion.
Nadler added that Trump is being investigated for obstruction of justice, relating to actions described by Mueller in the second volume of his report, though Mueller did not recommend prosecution and Attorney General William Barr rejected obstruction charges against Trump on the merits.
The White House cooperated fully with Mueller and never exerted executive privilege over any witnesses or documents. It has resisted participating in the House “impeachment inquiry,” which it regards as illegitimate.
Nadler has invited the president and his counsel to call and question witnesses, in accordance with the House resolution authorizing the impeachment inquiry last month — though the president was not allowed to do so in the Intelligence Committee inquiry. However, Nadler and the Democratic majority on the committee can overrule requests for witnesses.
In addition, the House Rules Committee warned last month that Nadler would be allowed to limit the president’s ability to call witnesses if he does not provide witnesses and documents the committee wants.
Republicans criticized Nadler’s letter. Rep. Mark Meadows (R-NC), who participated in the earlier round of closed-door hearings, said that Nadler’s letter proved that the president had previously been denied due process rights:
What this letter tacitly admits is that House Democrats basically ran an impeachment process for 2 months before giving the President any real rights.
This process is neither fair nor serious. https://t.co/1X9M3VvxZT
— Mark Meadows (@RepMarkMeadows) November 29, 2019
Nadler’s letter “tacitly admits is that House Democrats basically ran an impeachment process for 2 months before giving the President any real rights,” Meadows tweeted, concluding: “This process is neither fair nor serious.”
The House Judiciary Committee is holding its first impeachment inquiry hearing on Wednesday, Dec. 4, to discuss the constitutional and legal framework for impeachment. Trump and his lawyers have been invited to participate in that inquiry as well, and have been given a deadline of Sunday, Dec. 1, at 6:00 p.m. ET to respond to the committee.
Joel B. Pollak is Senior Editor-at-Large at Breitbart News. He earned an A.B. in Social Studies and Environmental Science and Public Policy from Harvard College, and a J.D. from Harvard Law School. He is a winner of the 2018 Robert Novak Journalism Alumni Fellowship. He is also the co-author of How Trump Won: The Inside Story of a Revolution, which is available from Regnery. Follow him on Twitter at @joelpollak.