Lawmakers turn attention to potential witnesses at Judiciary impeachment hearings

Republicans and Democrats appearing on the Sunday morning political shows offered differing takes on who should testify during the next phase of the House’s impeachment inquiry as it shifts from the House Intelligence Committee to the Judiciary Committee.

Rep. Tom McClintock (R-Calif.), a member of the Judiciary Committee, told ABC’s “This Week” that it would be to President Trump’s advantage to have an attorney representing him present at the hearing this week.

“That is his right, but I can also understand how he is upset at the illegitimate process that we saw unfold in the Intelligence Committee,” McClintock said, adding that he also believed witnesses the White House has ordered not to appear, including acting chief of staff Mick Mulvaney and former national security adviser John Bolton, could work to Trump’s advantage.

“Of course, he has to weigh that against the enormous, catastrophic damage that would do to the doctrine of executive privilege,” he added.

Rep. Val Demings (D-Fla.) said she held out hope Trump would participate in the hearings.

“I think our main focus right now is to have the president and his counsel, who you know have been given the same privileges as President Nixon and President Clinton had to participate and engage in this impeachment process,” Demings, a member of both committees, said on “This Week.”

Lawmakers announced last week that the Judiciary Committee would hold its first hearing Wednesday based on the report compiled by the Intelligence Committee, which wrapped up two weeks of public hearings in the impeachment inquiry. Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerry Nadler (D-N.Y.) in a letter on Friday told Trump he has until Dec. 6 to let the committee know whether his counsel will participate in upcoming impeachment proceedings. 

Judiciary Committee ranking member Doug Collins (R-Ga.), meanwhile, said Intelligence Committee Chair Adam Schiff (D-Calif.) was chief among the witnesses Republicans would like to call during the next phase of the inquiry.

“My first and foremost witness is Adam Schiff,” Collins said on “Fox News Sunday,” adding “If he chooses not to [testify], then I really have to question his veracity in what he’s putting in his report.”

Lawmakers were also pressed on public support for impeachment.

 

 

House Democratic Caucus Chair Hakeem Jeffries (D-N.Y.), a Judiciary member, dismissed a poll showing declining support for impeachment, pointing to other polling indicating continued majority support as well as 70 percent of Americans believing Trump did something wrong.

“Our job is to follow the facts, apply the law, be guided by the U.S. constitution and present the truth to the American people no matter where it leads, because no one is above the law,” Jeffries told Fox’s Chris Wallace. “That’s what we have been doing, that’s what we are doing, that’s what we’re going to continue to do moving forward.”

Rep. Zoe Lofgren (D-Calif.), the only House Democrat to have also worked on impeachment proceedings for former Presidents Nixon and Clinton, said the allegations against Trump are worse than Nixon’s.

“President Nixon’s misconduct related to trying to use the levers of government to hide the Watergate burglary to — his misconduct had to do with trying to throw the election. But at least it didn’t involve involving other foreign nations,” Lofgren said on CNN’s “State of the Union.”

“If you take a look at what the founding fathers were concerned about, it was the interference by foreign governments in our political system that was one of their gravest concerns. Nixon’s behavior didn’t fall into that range. So, in that way, this conduct is more serious,” she added.

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Written by Alan Smith

Alan Smith

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