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 Schiff (D-Calif.) and the whistleblower who first brought forward the allegations about President Trump‘s contacts with Ukraine.
“[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 Biden. 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 Nunes (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.