WASHINGTON - Again claiming the entire impeachment investigation is unfair, the White House told a congressional committee Sunday it will not participate in a new hearing this week.
"This baseless and highly partisan inquiry violates all past historical precedent," White House Counsel Pat Cipollone wrote to Rep. Jerry Nadler, D-N.Y., chairman of the House Judiciary Committee.
"Accordingly," he said in the letter," under the current circumstances, we do not intend to participate in your Wednesday hearing."
Nadler had asked the White House if it wanted officials to attend and ask questions at the hearing that is devoted to the constitutional requirements of impeachment.
"Our first task is to explore the framework put in place to respond to serious allegations of impeachable misconduct like those against President Trump," Nadler said in a statement last week.
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House Judiciary will be the second committee to hold impeachment hearings in an investigation that revolves around claims that Trump tried to extract political favors from Ukraine in exchange for foreign aid.
The House Intelligence Committee, which heard from 12 witnesses during five days of hearings last month, is expected to issue a report this week that will be forwarded to the House Judiciary Committee.
Trump is accused of trying to get Ukraine to investigate domestic political opponents, including Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden and his son Hunter, who had business interests in the country.
Democratic-led House committees are also investigating evidence that Trump threatened to withhold military aid from Ukraine if it did not follow through on his request.
Trump and aides have denounced the entire process as a political "witch hunt" designed to remove him from office ahead of the 2020 election.
As his lawyers developed a response to Nadler's committee, Trump returned to Washington, D.C., after a holiday weekend at his Mar-a-Lago resort in Palm Beach, Fla.
The president also plans to be abroad as Democrats gear up for a new set of impeachment hearings early this week.
On Monday, Trump is scheduled to leave Washington for a NATO summit to be held in London; he is currently scheduled to return late Wednesday.
"I will be representing our Country in London at NATO, while the Democrats are holding the most ridiculous Impeachment hearings in history," Trump said in a weekend tweet.
He added: "Read the Transcripts, NOTHING was done or said wrong! The Radical Left is undercutting our Country. Hearings scheduled on same dates as NATO!"
Arguing he has done nothing wrong, Trump has said he did not pressure Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelensky into investigating Biden, nor did he try to use military aid as leverage.
In his letter to Nader, White House Counsel Cipollone also protested the fact that the hearing will be held on the day Trump is scheduled to return from the NATO meeting in London.
In a separate request made over the holiday weekend, Nadler asked Trump if he will mount a defense in subsequent hearings expected to be held later in the month.
Cipollone said the White House is taking that request under advisement; the deadline for a response is 5 p.m. on Friday.
Rep. Doug Collins, R-Ga., the top Republican on the House Judiciary Committee, said Wednesday's hearing would be a "waste of time" because Democrats already have their minds made up.
"The problem is Jerry Nadler and the rest of them have already got in their mind they're writing the articles of impeachment," Collins said on Fox News Sunday.
Rep. Hakeem Jeffries, D-N.Y., a Democratic member of the Judiciary Committee also appearing on Fox News, said lawmakers are obligated to look at hard evidence of wrongdoing by Trump.
"We do have a constitutional responsibility to serve as a check and balance on a potentially out-of-control executive branch," Jeffries said.
In refusing to participate in Wednesday's hearing, the White House made similar arguments when it refused to participate in the House Intelligence Committee hearings last month. It also worked to block testimony from White House aides such as acting Chief of Staff Mick Mulvaney.
This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: White House: Donald Trump will not participate in impeachment hearings