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Donald Trump won’t send a White House lawyer to the next impeachment hearing

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Donald Trump won’t send a White House lawyer to the next impeachment hearing

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WASHINGTON – Continuing its refusal to cooperate with impeachment investigators, the White House said Friday it will not be sending a lawyer or any other official to a House Judiciary Committee hearing next week – or likely ever.

“House Democrats have wasted enough of America’s time with this charade,” White House Counsel Pat Cipollone said in a curt one-page letter to Rep. Jerry Nadler, D-N.Y., chairman of the House Judiciary Committee.

The White House has consistently rejected invitations from House committees to participate in what Trump and aides call “unfair” impeachment hearings.

In response to a request made last Friday by Nadler, the White House protested that the House is already drawing up impeachment articles.

On Thursday, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., authorized Democratic committee chairmen to begin drafting articles of impeachment concerning Trump’s dealings with the nation of Ukraine.

White House spokesman Hogan Gidley said it’s “all about politics” for Pelosi, and noted that she went ahead with her impeachment announcement “even though we hadn’t responded to the letter.”

More: How to stay updated on USA TODAY’s impeachment coverage

Impeachment investigators are looking at evidence that Trump urged Ukraine to investigate U.S. Democratic political opponents, and threatened to withhold military aid from the country if it did not follow through.

The House Judiciary Committee, which is developing articles of impeachment against the president, has a hearing scheduled for Monday. Democratic and Republican counsels are scheduled to brief members on evidence gathered by three different House committees.

On Sunday, responding to an earlier request from Nadler, the White House said that “this baseless and highly partisan inquiry violates all past historical precedent, basic due process rights, and fundamental fairness.”

No White House officials attended a series of hearings held by the House Intelligence Committee, nor a Wednesday session held by the House Judiciary Committee.

The exchange of letters came as White House officials are already talking with senators about how to approach a likely impeachment trial.

Trump, whose trip to London this week was dominated by impeachment talk, is taking an increasingly negative tone toward the effort.

In tweets on Thursday, Trump told House Democrats to go ahead and impeach him because the Republican Senate will vote to acquit him.

“If you are going to impeach me, do it now, fast, so we can have a fair trial in the Senate, and so that our Country can get back to business,” Trump tweeted.

In his letter, Cipollone quoted Trump’s statement that House Democrats should go ahead and impeach him, without any more hearings.

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