Adam Schiff, the House Intelligence Committee Chairman, effectively denied Republican lawmakers’ request for a government whistleblower to testify in the impeachment inquiry into President Trump on Saturday.
Schiff has helped lead the impeachment hearings of Trump and his dealings with Ukraine. He said in a letter to Rep. Devin Nunes (R-Calif.), the ranking member of the Intelligence panel, that the whistleblower’s testimony would be “redundant” and “unnecessary,” according to several reports.
“The impeachment inquiry, moreover, has gathered an ever-growing body of evidence — from witnesses and documents, including the President’s own words in his July 25 call record — that not only confirms, but far exceeds, the initial information in the whistleblower’s complaint,” Schiff said. “The whistleblower’s testimony is therefore redundant and unnecessary.
Schiff also said that “the individual’s appearance before us would only place their personal safety at grave risk” because of Trump’s repeated threats.
The whistleblower complaint accuses Trump of pushing Ukraine to open investigations for his political benefit and it led House Democrats in September to launch an impeachment inquiry. Several House committees have heard depositions from a number of former and current administration officials corroborating the whistleblower’s account behind closed doors. There are more public hearings scheduled for this week.
The investigation has focused on allegations that Trump put pressure on Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky to investigate 2020 presidential candidate Joe Biden and that military aid was tied to Kiev publicly declaring the probe.
Schiff’s statement came just hours after Republicans sent him a letter including a list of individuals they would like to testify in the public impeachment hearings. The government whistleblower and former Vice President Joe Biden’s son, Hunter Biden, were both included on the list.
Nunes also formally requested that Schiff privately testify amid the investigation, arguing that the congressman was making a “show trial” of the impeachment inquiry.
In his response to Nunes, Schiff emphasized that he wouldn’t allow lawmakers to use the open hearings to carry out “sham” investigations into the Biden family.
“The committee also will not facilitate efforts by President Trump and his allies in Congress to threaten, intimidate and retaliate against the whistleblower who courageously raised the initial alarm,” he said.
Trump and a number of leaders in the GOP have become increasingly outspoken in their push for the whistleblower to testify. Trump claimed last week that the figure had to “come forward” because the person got it “sooo wrong.”
Written by Rich Stevenson
Credit: The Hill