Trump invited to attend impeachment hearing ‘or stop complaining’
Donald Trump has been invited to attend the next stage of impeachment hearings or “stop complaining”.
The US president has been told he is welcome to be represented on 4 December, once the country goes back to work after its Thanksgiving break.
Jerrold Nadler, the Democratic chairman of the House Judiciary Committee that is leading the inquiry, says it’s the president’s choice.
Mr Nadler said in a statement: “The president has a choice to make, he can take this opportunity to be represented in the impeachment hearings or he can stop complaining about the process.
“I hope that he chooses to participate.”
The Democrat has also written a letter to the president reminding him he is welcome to attend the hearing next week, which marks the next stage of a probe into a phone call between Mr Trump and his Ukrainian counterpart.
It is alleged that Mr Trump abused his power by asking Volodomyr Zelenskiy to investigate Joe Biden, who is the favourite to be selected as the Democrat candidate for the presidential election next year.
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Mr Trump is also accused of requesting an investigation into the former vice president’s son Hunter Biden, who had previously worked for the Ukrainian energy company Burisma.
The president has repeatedly asserted he did nothing wrong and has dismissed the inquiry as a “witch hunt”, but has indicated that he could be willing to give evidence at the hearings.
Public interest in the inquiry has ramped up since they started being televised earlier this month, and Democrats are hoping to hear from a number of high-ranking officials before it comes to an end.
Former White House counsel Donald McGahn has been ordered to appear before Congress, having been a star witness in special counsel Robert Mueller’s probe into Russian interference in the 2016 election.
He could be followed by the likes of former national security adviser John Bolton.
The inquiry has already heard evidence from witnesses such as US ambassador to the EU Gordon Sondland, who claimed he “followed the president’s orders” to help efforts to pressure Ukraine into investigating Mr Biden.
Before Mr Trump has the chance to appear or be represented at the hearing next week, he has jetted back to his new official residence in Florida for Thanksgiving.
He held a campaign rally in the sunshine state on Tuesday – the first he has held since he formally changed his residency from Trump Tower in New York to his Mar-a-Lago club in Palm Beach.
One of his final acts in Washington ahead of his departure was to issue a presidential pardon of the national Thanksgiving turkey Butter.