The White House on Wednesday bashed again the ongoing impeachment inquiry into President Donald Trump led by House Democrats, without confirming whether the president would appear for a congressional hearing next week to which he was invited.
Earlier on Tuesday, the U.S. House Judiciary Committee issued a statement saying it would hold an impeachment inquiry hearing on Dec. 4. Committee chairman Jerry Nadler sent Trump a letter, inviting him and his counsel to participate in the hearing.
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," White House press secretary Stephanie Grisham said in a statement. "The president has done nothing wrong, and the Democrats know it."
The judiciary panel's announcement came as House Democrats conducting the impeachment inquiry hosted a number of closed-door depositions and public testimonies to try to establish a case of the president abusing his office to solicit foreign interference that would help with his re-election -- a claim that Trump and his administration have repeatedly denied.
Although Grisham gave no indication as to whether Trump or his lawyers would accept the invitation, U.S. media reported that they expressed suspicion privately about participating in a process they considered unfair to the president.
Nadler told Trump in the letter that the upcoming hearing would feature a discussion of the "constitutional framework through which the House may analyze the evidence gathered in the present inquiry," and that lawmakers would be looking into whether Trump's "alleged actions warrant the House's exercising its authority to adopt articles of impeachment."
The chairman notified Trump of his right to attend the hearing, as well as his counsel's right to question the witnesses, adding that he hoped that the president "chooses to participate in the inquiry, directly or through counsel, as other Presidents have done before him."
Trump is required to notify the committee no later than Sunday whether he will show up at the hearing, according to Nadler. "By that time, I ask that you also indicate who will act as your counsel for these proceedings," he wrote in the letter.
The judiciary panel is tasked with drafting articles of impeachment based on a report by the House Intelligence Committee, which is now leading the investigations, and summarizing key findings relating to allegations that Trump pressured Ukraine to launch investigations that would have benefited him personally.
Adam Schiff, who heads the intelligence committee, wrote in a letter to lawmakers Monday that his team is expected to complete the report as soon as Congress returns from the Thanksgiving break.