Dec 1, 2019 - Politics & Policy

Top Judiciary Republican demands Schiff testify in impeachment hearing

Rep. Doug Collins (R-Ga.), ranking member of the House Judiciary Committee, said on "Fox News Sunday" that the first witness Republicans will attempt to call in the upcoming impeachment hearing is House Intelligence Chairman Adam Schiff (D-Calif.).

The exchange:

CHRIS WALLACE: "Will Republicans on the committee call for subpoena witnesses to testify, and if so, who are you going to ask to testify?"
COLLINS: "First and foremost, the person who needs to testify is Adam Schiff. Adam Schiff is the author of this report. Adam Schiff has been the author of many things, a lot of them found to be false over the past couple of years. But he's going to be the author of this report. He's compared himself in the past to a special counsel. ... My first and foremost witness is Adam Schiff."
WALLACE: "So you want to bring him in before the committee, not just to present a report, but to take questions from Democrats and be cross-examined, if you will, by the Republicans?"
COLLINS: "He needs to be. He's put himself in that position, and if he chooses not to, then I really question his veracity and what he's putting into his report. I question the motives of why he's doing it. It's easy to hide behind a report. It's easy to hide behind a gavel."

Why it matters: As Axios' Alayna Treene has reported, Schiff is the closest thing to a Democratic Ken Starr that exists in the Trump impeachment inquiry, having taken on a dual-hat role as both a key committee chairman and chief investigator. This has opened him up to incessant attacks from Republicans, who believe he has been leading an unfair process and had inappropriate contacts with the whistleblower.

The big picture: The House Intelligence Committee on Monday will begin reviewing a draft report of its investigation into allegations that President Trump pressured Ukraine to investigate his Democratic rivals. The committee will then hold a business meeting on Tuesday to consider and adopt the report before sending it to the House Judiciary Committee.

  • The Judiciary Committee announced last week that it would hold a hearing with constitutional scholars on Dec. 4 to discuss the "historical and constitutional basis of impeachment." Ultimately, the committee will be responsible for recommending articles of impeachment that the full House will vote on.
  • House Judiciary Chairman Jerry Nadler (D-N.Y.) has invited Trump to send legal counsel to attend the hearings, but the president has not indicated whether he plans to do so.
  • Republicans on the Sunday cable news shows criticized Nadler for inviting Trump to send counsel without announcing who the witnesses will be.

Worth noting: Trump himself will be in London for a NATO meeting when the Judiciary Committee begins its hearings.

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