GOP wants Hunter Biden, whistleblower to testify in Trump impeachment inquiry

GOP wants Hunter Biden, whistleblower to testify in Trump impeachment inquiry
GOP wants Hunter Biden, whistleblower to testify in Trump impeachment inquiry  

WASHINGTON - Ahead of the first scheduled public impeachment hearings Wednesday, House Republicans requested Hunter Biden and the whistleblower whose report sparked the probe give open testimony in the ongoing probe of President Donald Trump's dealings with Ukraine.

Saturday was the deadline for House Republicans to submit their proposed list of witnesses to Democrats.

In addition to "all individuals relied upon by the anonymous whistleblower in drafting his or her secondhand complaint," Republicans asked for eight individuals:

The whistleblower: The still-unnamed official who filed a whistleblower complaint following Trump's July 25 call with Ukranian president Volodymyr Zelensky.

Hunter Biden: The son of former Vice President Joe Biden and former board member of Burisma Holdings, Ukraine's largest gas company.

David Hale: The undersecretary of State for political affairs who testified behind closed doors on Nov. 6.

Tim Morrison: National Security Council aide who testified behind closed doors on Oct. 31.

Kurt Volker: Special envoy to Ukraine who testified behind closed doors on Oct. 3.

Nellie Ohr: A contractor for research firm Fusion GPS who worked on the Steele dossier, an unverified 2016 document compiled by former British intelligence officer Christopher Steele alleging ties between Trump and the Kremlin.

Devon Archer: Burisma board member Devon Archer, a business partner of Hunter Biden.

Alexandra Chalupa: Democratic National Committee staffer who Republicans allege was part of Ukrainian efforts to interfere in the 2016 election.

"We expect 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 (Nancy) Pelosi," top Intelligence Committee Republican Devin Nunes wrote in a Saturday letter to Rep. Adam Schiff, the committee's Democratic chairman.

Schiff responded to the Republicans in a statement released later Saturday, saying they were "evaluating" Republicans' requests and would give "due consideration to witnesses within the scope of the impeachment inquiry."

"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 added.

More: Lobbyist says he wasn't lobbying when he tried to oust Ukrainian ambassador. Experts disagree.

More: 5 takeaways from Lt. Col. Alexander Vindman's impeachment inquiry testimony

In a Nov. 7 letter sent to Republicans outlining the parameters for witnesses, Schiff wrote that witnesses had to be directly related to the Trump administration's pressuring of Ukraine to open investigations into the president's political adversaries and any potential attempts to obstruct or cover up an investigation.

The whistleblower, described as an individual in the intelligence committee, issued a complaint in August alleging Trump pushed a foreign power - Ukraine - to interfere in the 2020 election by asking the country to investigate his political rival Joe Biden.

Democrats allege Trump used his power to withhold military aid and a White House meeting in exchange for the probe. Trump has defended his interactions with Ukraine and has dismissed the inquiry as a "hoax" and "witch hunt."

Trump and Republicans allege Biden strong-armed the Ukrainian government to fire its top prosecutor in order to thwart an investigation into a company tied to his son, an accusation that lacks credible evidence. USA TODAY has spoken to two dozen leaders and investigators in Ukraine who say Trump's accusations against Hunter Biden's work in Ukraine are baseless.

The impeachment inquiry was launched by Pelosi on Sept. 24. What followed were weeks of closed-door witness testimony involving three people who are now on House Republicans' witness list: Volker, Morrison and Hale.

On Oct. 31, in a near-party-line vote, the House approved a resolution setting the parameters for the public portion of the impeachment inquiry, which begins Wednesday.

This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Trump impeachment inquiry: GOP asks Biden, whistleblower to testify


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