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Lawmakers spar over impeachment witnesses as probe enters public phase

libadmin November 10, 2019

“The only thing that the whistleblower can say is that he was told by other people about the phone call,” Speier said. “We have the other people coming forward to actually testify. So you have direct evidence, not indirect evidence.”

Speier argued that having Hunter Biden testify would also be “irrelevant” because he “is unrelated to the Ukraine call.” Some of the witnesses Republicans have requested may be allowed, she added, including National Security Council official Tim Morrison and former Ukraine envoy Kurt Volker, both of whom have already testified behind closed doors.

Another Democrat on the Intelligence Committee, Rep. Sean Patrick Maloney (N.Y.), also rejected the call for Hunter Biden to testify.

“He has no knowledge of what the president did or didn’t do here that is the subject of the impeachment hearing,” Maloney said on “Fox News Sunday.”

Among those on the list are Hunter Biden, whose father is a leading Democratic candidate to challenge Trump in 2020; Hunter Biden’s business partner Devon Archer; the unnamed whistleblower, whom Trump and some of his allies have campaigned to publicly identify; the researcher Nellie Ohr of Fusion GPS, which commissioned a dossier that linked Russia and Trump; and Alexandra Chalupa, a Ukrainian American who worked with the Democratic National Committee.

House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam B. Schiff (D-Calif.) said in a statement Saturday that Democrats would evaluate the requests but that the impeachment probe “will not serve … as a vehicle to undertake the same sham investigations” into the Bidens or the 2016 campaign, or to retaliate against the whistleblower.

Several Republicans on the Sunday morning news shows focused on the process of the impeachment inquiry rather than on the substance of the allegations against Trump.

Rep. Mac Thornberry (R-Tex.) argued on “This Week” that “there will be a taint to this one-sided, partisan approach to impeachment.”

He said it would be “inappropriate,” but not impeachable, for a president to ask a foreign leader to investigate a political rival, as Trump is alleged to have done. The importance of process, Thornberry maintained, cannot be ignored.

“There’s a reason we let murderers and robbers and rapists go free when their due process rights have been violated,” Thornberry said.

On “Fox News Sunday,” Rep. Will Hurd (R-Tex.) said the impeachment inquiry “has been a partisan exercise from the very beginning.” He said Republicans want to hear testimony from Hunter Biden.

“I think we should just turn over every rock and pursue every lead to ultimately get to the truth,” Hurd said.

Hurd also argued that Schiff should be forced to testify about his office’s contacts with the whistleblower, claiming that the committee chairman “misled the American public earlier in the year about what he knew about the contact with the whistleblower.”

Other Republicans maintained that Trump sought to hold up much-needed military aid to Ukraine over general concerns about corruption — despite closed-door testimony from witnesses who said the White House had threatened to withdraw the aid unless Kyiv announced investigations for Trump’s political benefit.

“I remain sympathetic with President Trump’s legitimate concerns about the corruption,” Sen. Ron Johnson (R-Wis.) said on CNN’s “State of the Union.” “When you’re going to provide hundreds of millions of taxpayer dollars into a system, you want to make sure it isn’t corrupt. … I never heard the president say I want to dig up dirt on 2020 opponents.”

Rachael Bade contributed to this report.



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