Washington — The House Judiciary Committee will hold its first hearing in the impeachment inquiry next week, as Democrats move quickly into the next phase of the proceedings. Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerry Nadler sent a letter to President Trump on Tuesday, inviting him and his counsel to participate at the hearing, scheduled for December 4 at 10 a.m. ET.
"I write to ask if — pursuant to H. Res. 660 and the relating Judiciary Committee Impeachment Inquiry procedures — you and your counsel plan to attend the hearing or make a request to question the witness panel," Nadler wrote, referring to the resolution passed last month which outlines the rules for the impeachment inquiry.
The first hearing, titled "The Impeachment Inquiry into President Donald J. Trump: Constitutional Grounds for Presidential Impeachment," will feature testimony from legal experts, Democratic committee aides said.
The House Intelligence Committee wrapped up its own open hearings last week, and is drafting a report summarizing its findings to send to the Judiciary Committee shortly.
"The Committee intends this hearing to serve as an opportunity to discuss the historical and constitutional basis of impeachment, as well as the Framers' intent and understanding of terms like 'high crimes and misdemeanors,'" Nadler wrote.
Nadler's letter to Trump
"We expect to discuss the constitutional framework through which the House may analyze the evidence gathered in the present inquiry. We will also discuss whether your alleged actions warrant the House's exercising its authority to adopt articles of impeachment," Nadler continued.
Mr. Trump and his Republican allies have protested that the president and his legal team have not had the opportunity to cross-examine witnesses in the inquiry thus far. The resolution establishing the framework for the inquiry gives Mr. Trump the opportunity to participate in the Judiciary Committee portion of the proceedings. Nadler gave Mr. Trump a deadline of December 1 to inform the committee if he would like to attend the hearing.
"I remain committed to ensuring a fair and informative process. To that end, I remind you that participation by the President or his counsel has been described by the Committee in past inquiries as 'not a right but a privilege or a courtesy which is being extended to the President's counsel,'" Nadler wrote, quoting the rules from the 1974 impeachment hearings into President Nixon. "I am hopeful that you and your counsel will opt to participate in the Committee's hearing, consistent with the rules of decorum and with the solemn nature of the work before us."
The administration has so far resisted requests for documents and refused to allow certain officials to testify in the impeachment proceedings. White House counsel Pat Cipollone declared in October that the administrationwith the inquiry, a directive several officials have disregarded in the face of congressional subpoenas.
White House Press Secretary Stephanie Grisham said Wednesday that "the White House is currently reviewing" Nadler's proposal.
"The White House is currently reviewing Chairman Nadler's letter - but what is obvious to every American is that this letter comes at the end of an illegitimate sham partisan process. The president has done nothing wrong and the Democrats know it," Grisham said.
Kimberly Brown contributed reporting.