A US Congressional committee on Judiciary gave President Donald Trump a week’s notice to declare whether his legal counsel wants to introduce evidence and call witnesses in the impeachment proceedings starting December 4. The House Judiciary Committee sent a two-page letter to Trump setting a deadline of 5:00pm on December 6 specifying whether his counsel intends to participate and which of the privileges it seeks to exercise.
“Chairman Nadler has asked both the President and the Ranking Member to provide notice to the Committee of their intent to exercise these privileges no later than December 6, 2019,” said the committee in a press release.
On November 26, the committee had sent another letter to the US President inviting him to attend or send his officials to participate in the impeachment hearings. “I have also written to President Trump to remind him that the Committee’s impeachment inquiry rules allow for the President to attend the hearing and for his counsel to question the witness panel,” said House Judiciary Chairman Jerrold Nadler in a statement. Nadler took a dig at Trump saying he can either avail the opportunity to be represented in the impeachment hearings or stop complaining about the process.
“I hope that he chooses to participate in the inquiry, directly or through counsel, as other Presidents have done before him,” he said. After the Thanksgiving recess, the three investigating panels are supposed to release a formal report on depositions and hearings.
Earlier, a federal judge had ruled that former White House counsel Donald McGahn must appear before Congress in the impeachment investigation against Trump. According to the Court’s ruling, the contention of the Department of Justice (DOJ) that the presidential aides enjoy absolute testimonial immunity at the president’s discretion conflicts with core constitutional norms. Judge Jackson, in his scathing conclusion, said that the United States of America has a government of laws and not of men.
“Stated simply, the primary takeaway from the past 250 years of recorded American history is that Presidents are not kings,” wrote Judge Jackson.