The chairman of the House Judiciary Committee has dismissed a Republican request for eight witnesses to testify as part of the impeachment inquiry, including House Intelligence Chairman Adam SchiffAdam Bennett SchiffLawmakers prep ahead of impeachment hearing Top Republican: Democrats’ weekend document dump shows impeachment inquiry is a ‘farce’ Nunes: ‘Sickening’ that Schiff obtained his phone records MORE (D-Calif.) and the whistleblower who first brought forward the allegations about President TrumpDonald John TrumpLawmakers prep ahead of impeachment hearing Democrats gear up for high-stakes Judiciary hearing Warren says she made almost M from legal work over past three decades MORE‘s contacts with Ukraine.
Rep. Jerrold NadlerJerrold (Jerry) Lewis NadlerLawmakers prep ahead of impeachment hearing Trump: Fox News ‘panders’ to Democrats by having on liberal guests Democrats express confidence in case as impeachment speeds forward MORE (D-N.Y.) in a letter Monday to the top Republican on the Judiciary panel, Rep. Doug CollinsDouglas (Doug) Allen CollinsLawmakers prep ahead of impeachment hearing Top Republican: Democrats’ weekend document dump shows impeachment inquiry is a ‘farce’ Trump, GOP shift focus from alleged surveillance abuse to Durham Russia probe MORE (R-Ga.), took issue with the witnesses the Republicans intended to call.
“[T]he Committee has previously tabled motions with regards to these matters…and I see no reason to reconsider these requests,” Nadler wrote, adding that there is “no need” to hear from Schiff and the whistleblower.
Democrats have argued that Trump committed impeachable offenses when he used the promise of a White House meeting and nearly $400 million in U.S. aid as leverage to get Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky to open two politically motivated investigations, including one into a top 2020 political rival, former Vice President Joe BidenJoe BidenBiden: Buttigieg ‘doesn’t have significant black support even in his own city’ Biden: ‘I’d add’ Warren to my list of potential VP picks How can top Democrats run the economy with no business skill? MORE. They claim Republicans are trying to distract and shift away from a narrative about the president’s misconduct with a foreign leader by going after Schiff, the whistleblower and others.
Nadler also shot down other witnesses Republicans requested, including Biden and his son, Hunter Biden, and witnesses related to unfounded GOP-claims of Ukrainian interference during the 2016 election.
The New York Democrat said five of Collins’s remaining requests were previously made by Rep. Devin NunesDevin Gerald NunesNunes: ‘Sickening’ that Schiff obtained his phone records Trump’s exceptionalism: No president has so disrespected our exceptional institutions Schiff: Blowback to obtaining phone records ‘has only come from the far right’ MORE (R-Calif.), the top Republican on the Intelligence Committee, and that he concurs with Schiff’s earlier “assessment” that hearings “will not serve…as a vehicle to undertake the same sham investigations” into 2016 interference and the Bidens.
Nadler’s decision sparked protests from Republicans, who have claimed that Democrats leading the impeachment inquiry have been unfair, particularly because they have blocked their witnesses.
News of Nadler’s letter comes amid a public hearing before the House Judiciary Committee, in which Democrats are seeking to present evidence and make their case to the public that Trump is unfit for office.
Republicans, on the other hand, are seeking to spin the counter-narrative that Democrats are impeachment hungry and seeking to re-write the outcome of the 2016 presidential election.
The Monday hearing could be the last public opportunity for both sides to make their case before articles of impeachment are introduced.