House Republicans are trying to disrupt next week's public impeachment hearings by spending the entire time demanding the whistleblower and Hunter Biden testify instead. Luckily, it doesn't really matter what they want.
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.
Witnesses who testified out of public view have corroborated the crux of the case against Trump — that he pressured Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky to investigate his political rivals — so the Democrats see no need for the whistleblower, who heard the story secondhand, to testify. Three career State Department officials are returning next week for the public hearings.
Republicans want to publicly question witnesses who would divert the conversation away from questions about Trump’s behavior to allegations only tangentially related to the case, such as unfounded claims that Ukraine interfered in the 2016 election and that the Bidens acted nefariously in their dealings with Ukraine.
In the request that the anonymous whistleblower be asked to testify publicly, Nunes argued that Trump “should be afforded an opportunity to confront his accusers.” He also asked that all individuals who provided information to the whistleblower 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.
In addition to Hunter Biden, the Republicans said 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.”
So why would I care about what Devin Nunes wants, when Devin Nunes literally gets no say in the process?
Because it makes me laugh. Adam Schiff isn't going to do a damn thing.
In denying the GOP witness list, Schiff will point to parameters he laid out earlier this week limiting the scope of the public hearings to Trump’s actions related to Ukraine.
The narrow guidelines set forth by Schiff center on three fundamental questions:
●Did Trump request a foreign government conduct investigations that would benefit the president’s personal political interests?
●Did Trump, or his aides, use the power of the presidency to apply pressure on Ukraine?
●Did the Trump administration attempt to obstruct justice by concealing evidence of the president’s actions related to Ukraine?
Keep those three questions in mind as we head into next week.