White House lawyer Pat A. Cipollone signaled Friday that Trump’s legal team would not be participating in the impeachment proceedings before the House Judiciary Committee.

Cipollone sent a terse, two-paragraph letter shortly before the panel’s 5 p.m. deadline, in which he blasted the inquiry as “completely baseless” and a “charade,” though he did not state outright that the White House wouldn't be participating.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) directed committee chairmen Thursday to begin the process of drafting articles of impeachment against Trump, with many Democrats anticipating that a full House vote could come before Christmas.

At the heart of the Democrats’ case is the allegation that Trump tried to leverage a White House meeting and military aid, sought by Ukraine in the face of Russian military aggression, to pressure President Volodymyr Zelensky to launch an investigation of former vice president Joe Biden and his son Hunter Biden, as well as a probe of an unfounded theory that Kyiv conspired with Democrats to interfere in the 2016 presidential election.

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