The White House has warned the Democrats in the House over the adoption of articles of impeachment against President Donald Trump.
“Adopting articles of impeachment would be a reckless abuse of power by House Democrats,” White House counsel Pat Cipollone said in a letter on Friday to Jerry Nadler, chairman of the House Judiciary Committee that is leading the Trump impeachment proceedings.
The move “would constitute the most unjust, highly partisan, and unconstitutional attempt at impeachment in our Nation’s history”, Xinhua news agency quoted Cipollone as saying.
Nadler, in a statement, pointed to the White House’s consistent refusal to cooperate with the impeachment proceedings previously led by the House Intelligence Committee and two other panels.
“The House invited, and then subpoenaed, his top advisors. The President ordered them not to show and continues to block key evidence from Congress,” Nadler said in response on Friday.
“Having declined this opportunity, he cannot claim that the process is unfair.
“The President’s failure will not prevent us from carrying out our solemn constitutional duty,” he added.
Cipollone’s letter came a day after House Speaker Nancy Pelosi announced that she was asking Nadler’s panel to write articles of impeachment against Trump.
House Democrats are looking into whether Trump abused his office by pressuring Ukraine into launching investigations that could benefit him politically.
Lawmakers were also examining whether the President conditioned a White House meeting or a military aid to Ukraine on those probes.
Trump, who has denied any wrongdoing or a “quid pro quo”, lashed out at Democrats over the impeachment Friday evening.
“Nadler hasn’t had a single fact witness testify,” he tweeted, accusing Democrats of doing nothing but pursuing impeachment.
The articles of impeachment under consideration might be approved by the House Judiciary Committee as early as next week.
According to the US Constitution, the House shall have the sole “Power of Impeachment” while the Senate shall have the sole “Power to try all impeachments”.
Trump will be impeached if the House approves any of the articles of impeachment the House Judiciary Committee has recommended by a simple majority vote.
But conviction can only happen in the Senate and requires at least two-thirds of its members, or 67 senators, to vote in favour.
Currently, the Senate has 53 Republicans, 45 Democrats and two Independents.