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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.

Go deeper:

Go deeper

Right-wingers making McCarthy sweat for future Speaker post

House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy stands with his Republican colleagues outside the House on Nov. 17. Photo: Stefani Reynolds/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Right-wing elements in the Republican Party are complicating House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy's attempts to become the next speaker of the House should the GOP take back the majority in 2022.

Why it matters: While McCarthy has worked carefully to build trust among the conservatives who tanked his chances at clinching the speakership in 2015, they're still circling ahead of the next Speaker vote in January 2023.

Congress sprints to meet crush of deadlines

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

Congressional leaders have been pushing off vital action for months — and a lot of it will catch up with them in December, which begins Wednesday.

Driving the news: Funding for the federal government is set to expire at midnight on Friday. There are also consequential deadlines related to the debt limit, President Biden's agenda and annual actions like voting on the National Defense Authorization Act.

1 hour ago - World

U.S. fears Iran won’t scale back to 2015 nuclear deal

Officials gather in Vienna on Sept. 29 for the first day of renewed nuclear talks with Iran. Photo: EU Vienna Delegation/Handout/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images

U.S. officials have extremely low expectations as world powers resume negotiations with Iran to curb its nuclear program, believing the Iranians aren't yet ready to negotiate seriously, Axios is told.

Driving the news: Senior officials in the U.S. intelligence community have assessed the new Iranian president, Ebrahim Raisi, thinks of his predecessor, Hassan Rouhani, as a weak accommodationist who negotiated a bad deal with the U.S. and other world powers in 2015.

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