White House says will refuse to take part in impeachment hearing

The US Capitol at sunset in Washington is shown in this file photo. Republicans have high hopes of using the House drive toward impeaching President Donald Trump to defeat Democrats from swing districts loaded with moderate voters. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite, File)
Updated 02 December 2019

White House says will refuse to take part in impeachment hearing

  • House Judiciary Committee will begin meeting on Wednesday to determine whether the evidence compiled meets the constitutional impeachment standard

WASHINGTON: US President Donald Trump’s attorney said on Sunday that the White House will not participate in congressional hearings set for Wednesday that will consider passing impeachment articles against the president.
“We cannot fairly be expected to participate in a hearing while the witnesses are yet to be named and while it remains unclear whether the Judiciary Committee will afford the President a fair process through additional hearings,” White House counsel Pat Cipollone wrote in a letter to Jerry Nadler, the Democratic chairman of the Judiciary Committee in the House of Representatives.
“Accordingly, under the current circumstances, we do not intend to participate in your Wednesday hearing,” Cipollone wrote.
Trump is facing allegations in the House of Representatives investigation that he illegally sought help from Ukraine to obtain dirt on his domestic political rivals, including possible 2020 challenger Joe Biden.
The House Judiciary Committee will begin meeting on Wednesday to determine whether the evidence compiled in the investigative phase of the process meets the constitutional impeachment standard of “treason, bribery or other high crimes and misdemeanors.”
The committee is expected to consider at least four counts, or articles of impeachment, including abuse of power, bribery, contempt of Congress and obstruction of justice.
Cipollone, however, did not rule out White House participation in all of the hearings, instead requesting further details from Nadler on how the inquiry will be conducted and saying he will give him an answer by next Friday.


Afghan security forces fail to reach ‘Taliban-mined’ site of US military plane crash

Updated 28 January 2020

Afghan security forces fail to reach ‘Taliban-mined’ site of US military plane crash

  • Probe launched into cause of Monday’s incident as Taliban claim responsibility for shooting down jet

KABUL: Afghan security forces have so far been unable to reach the crash site of a US military aircraft which went down during a mission on Monday in a Taliban-controlled area of the country.
An investigation is underway to determine what caused the Bombardier E-11A plane to crash in the Deh Yak district of Ghazni province, about 120 km southwest of Kabul, although the Taliban have claimed responsibility for shooting it down.

“The Taliban have mined the area, and security forces could not make it to the site to retrieve the bodies and recover the aircraft last evening. The Taliban had laid an ambush as security forces tried to reach the site,” Nasir Ahmad Faqiri, head of Ghazni’s provincial council, told Arab News.
He added that other US aircraft had attempted to land in the area overnight but were forced back due to bad weather.
Aref Noori, a spokesman for Ghanzi’s governor, said: “Afghan and foreign forces are preparing a joint plan to go to the site to see what they can do.”
Authorities have yet to determine how many passengers and crew were on board.
Several members of the provincial council said they had heard from locals that four people on board the plane had escaped the site of the crash soon after it came down. However, the reports could not be confirmed by the US military or other officials.
The crash comes amid a push by the Taliban and US diplomats to restart peace talks which are aimed at ending the 18-year-old conflict in the country.