Trump impeachment news: President will not take part in hearings as Congress poised to launch articles next week

Joe Sommerlad, Alex Woodward
Jonathan Ernst/REUTERS
Jonathan Ernst/REUTERS

Donald Trump won't participate in his upcoming impeachment hearings in Congress, his counsel says, forfeiting his ability to present evidence and call witnesses as House Democrats prepare articles of impeachment against the president.

Mr Trump faced a 5pm EST deadline (10pm GMT) deadline to indicate whether his team intends to mount a defence at further House Judiciary Committee proceedings.

His counsel Pat Cipollone called the impeachment hearings "baseless" and accused Democrats of an "abuse of power" — echoing sentiments from White House spokespeople over the last few weeks.

“Civilisation as we know it today is at stake in the next election, and certainly our planet,” House speaker Nancy Pelosi ​ told a CNN town hall event in Washington on Thursday after making her historic announcement calling on Congress to commence the process.

The president was quick to lash out on Twitter, again inviting ridicule by calling for the CIA whistle-blower whose initial complaint prompted the inquiry to reveal themselves, as his lawyers continue to battle to stop the release of his tax returns to Congress.

Meanwhile, the US Supreme Court has granted a freeze on the release of the president's banking information, delaying a decision in that case until 13 December, when the court is set to discuss three cases involving subpoena requests for the president's financial documents and tax returns.

Follow our live coverage as it happened.