House Republicans are calling for the Ukraine whistleblower and Hunter Biden to testify before Congress as the Democrat-led impeachment inquiry into President Donald Trump prepares for public hearings this month.
Rep. Devin Nunes, the ranking Republican on the House Intelligence Committee, sent Chairman Adam Schiff a list Saturday of witnesses he wants to testify before the committee leading the impeachment inquiry. Nunes said the witnesses would provide transparency and criticized the process as "opaque and unfair."
Nunes, R-Calif., said the testimony of Vice President Joe Biden's son Hunter would shed light on "Ukraine's pervasive corruption" and the reasons for Trump's skepticism of the country. Hunter Biden sat on the board of Ukrainian natural gas company Burisma Holdings while his father was spearheading Ukraine policy for the Obama administration.
In the letter, Nunes accused the whistleblower of political bias and said testimony from the individual, who is a member of the intelligence community, would give Trump the opportunity to confront his accuser. The president has repeatedly called for the whistleblower's identity to be revealed. The whistleblower's lawyer said last week that his client has offered to answer the questions of Republicans on the Intelligence Committee.
Nunes also wants all the sources that the whistleblower used to draft a complaint about Trump's July 25 call with Ukraine's president to testify.
Schiff, D-Calif., said the committee is evaluating the Republican witness requests, but warned he would not let the committee serve as a vehicle to investigate the Bidens or retaliate against the whistleblower.
"This inquiry is not, and will not serve, however, as a vehicle to undertake the same sham investigations into the Bidens or 2016 that the President pressed Ukraine to conduct for his personal political benefit, or to facilitate the President's effort to threaten, intimidate, and retaliate against the whistleblower who courageously raised the initial alarm," Schiff said.
In a letter addressed to Nunes late Saturday, Schiff said the whistleblower's testimony would be redundant given the evidence collected from other witnesses. He also said it was the duty of the committee to protect whistleblowers.
"In light of the President's threats, the individual's appearance before us would only place their personal safety at grave risk," Schiff wrote.
The Democrat-led impeachment inquiry stems from a complaint filed by the whistleblower, which expressed concern that Trump was trying to solicit the interference of a foreign country in the 2020 presidential election. Those allegations are based on a July call in which Trump asked the president of Ukraine to investigate Joe Biden, one of the top contenders for the Democratic presidential nomination, and his son Hunter.
Before the call, Trump ordered a hold on $400 million in military assistance to Ukraine. Top U.S. diplomat to Ukraine William Taylor and U.S. Ambassador to the EU Gordon Sondland told Congress the aid was withheld pending an agreement by Kyiv to launch the investigations, corroborating allegations that the White House was using the money as leverage to pressure the Ukrainian government into a quid pro quo.
Trump has repeatedly denied the aid was tied to a quid pro quo.
House Democrats last week approved guidelines formalizing the impeachment inquiry over the lockstep opposition of virtually every Republican in the legislative body.
Here are the other witnesses that Nunes wants to testify at the impeachment hearings: