The decision indicates that President Donald Trump has listened to his allies and some congressional Republicans who argued that a White House presence at the hearing would validate a process they have harangued as illegitimate and partisan.

It also means Trump will lean heavily on his closest GOP allies on the panel — including Reps. Jim Jordan of Ohio, John Ratcliffe of Texas and Matt Gaetz of Florida — to mount an impeachment defense during the Judiciary panel’s first hearing on Wednesday featuring legal scholars.

“Under the current circumstances, we do not intend to participate in your Wednesday hearing,” White House Counsel Pat Cipollone wrote in a letter to Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerrold Nadler (D-N.Y.), adding that “an invitation to an academic discussion with law professors does not begin to provide the president with any semblance of a fair process.”