WASHINGTON – House Republicans sent Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff, D-California, a list of witnesses they want to testify in the impeachment inquiry, including former Vice President Joe Biden’s son Hunter Biden and the anonymous whistleblower who filed the initial complaint against President Donald Trump.
But Schiff is likely to reject many, if not all, of the witnesses from the Republicans’ wish list.
“We expect that you will call each of the witnesses listed above to ensure that the Democrats’ ‘impeachment inquiry’ treats the President with fairness, as promised by Speaker Pelosi,” wrote Rep. Devin Nunes of California, the ranking Republican on the Intelligence Committee. “Your failure to fulfill Minority witness requests shall constitute evidence of your denial of fundamental fairness and due process.”
The probe moves from closed-door depositions to open hearings next week, which Democrats hope will present a strong case to the American public that bolsters support for impeaching the president.
Republicans and the president have complained that the Democrats’ inquiry is unfairly partisan. When the Democrats deny the witnesses they’ve requested, the Republicans will then present that as evidence of a one-sided process.
In the letter to Schiff, Nunes provided justification for each witness listed.
In addition to Hunter Biden, they also want to hear from Biden’s business partner, Devon Archer, who served with Biden on the board of Burisma, a Ukrainian natural gas company.
Nunes writes that both Biden and Archer’s time with Burisma “can assist the American public in understanding the nature and extent of Ukraine’s pervasive corruption, information that bears directly on President Trump’s long-standing and deeply-held skepticism of the country.”
Biden’s work for Burisma is an issue in the impeachment inquiry into whether Trump abused his power by asking that Ukrainian leaders to investigate the Bidens at the same time that he was withholding military aid from their country.
As vice president, Joe Biden pressured Ukraine to fire its top prosecutor, Viktor Shokin, because Biden and other Western officials said Shokin was not sufficiently pursuing corruption cases.
Previously, Burisma had been under investigation by Ukrainian prosecutors, but by 2016 when Biden was pushing for Shokin to be fired, the investigation into Burisma was dormant, according to former Ukrainian and U.S. officials.
In the request that the anonymous whistleblower be asked to testify publicly, Nunes writes that Trump “should be afford an opportunity to confront his accusers.” He also has asked that all individuals who provided information to the whistleblower should be compelled to appear.
Democrats have pushed back on Republicans’ desire to expose the identity of the whistleblower, citing protections afforded to federal employees who anonymously disclose information about government wrongdoing.