WASHINGTON: The US House of Representatives Judiciary Committee has invited President Donald Trump to its first impeachment hearing, scheduled for December 4, starting a new phase of the inquiry that could lead to formal charges against the president within weeks. Trump is not required to attend the hearing. But the move allows the president and his legal team access to congressional impeachment procedures that he and other Republicans have denounced as unfair, partly because the White House has not been able to call or cross-examine witnesses.
The House Intelligence Committee, which has led the impeachment investigation into Trump’s dealings with Ukraine through weeks of closed-door testimony and televised hearings, is expected to release a formal evidence report shortly after lawmakers return to Congress on December 3 from their Thanksgiving recess. The Judiciary panel will use the report to consider formal charges that it could recommend for a full House vote by mid-December. It gave Trump until 6 pm (2300 GMT) on Sunday to advise the committee on whether he would attend the hearing, and to indicate by then who would be his counsel. — Reuters