Friday, 22 November, 2019

House Republicans Seek Hunter Biden, Whistle-Blower’s Testimony

Adam Schiff Enlarge Image US House Intelligence Committee chairman Adam Schiff. AFP via Getty
Gustavo Carr | 09 November, 2019, 21:51

Schiff likely will reject the requests for Hunter Biden, Archer and several other proposed witnesses because their testimonies - as described in Nunes' letter - appear to fall outside guidelines set by the Democrats.

House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff said three State Department witnesses will appear in two hearings Wednesday and Friday: the USA ambassador to Ukraine, Bill Taylor, career department official George Kent and Marie Yovanovitch, the former US ambassador to Ukraine.

"Americans see through this sham impeachment process, despite the Democrats' effort to retroactively legitimize it", Nunes wrote.

"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", Nunes wrote. Therefore, "Republicans are unlikely to get most, if any, of their desired witnesses".

The whistleblower's complaint centered on a July phone call in which President Trump asked Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelensky to investigate Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden and Biden's son, Hunter.

"Trump's behavior is in line with how most whistleblowers are treated", said Rosemary Dew, who has written a manuscript about Federal Bureau of Investigation whistleblowers and who also was one.

Because President Trump should be afforded an opportunity to confront his accusers, the anonymous whistleblower should testify.

Iran downs 'unknown' drone over Persian Gulf port
The U.S. military's Central Command later wrote on Twitter that America had no drone in the area of the reported shootdown. The unmanned aircraft was downed over Iranian territory with domestically manufactured Mersad surface-to-air missiles.

The whistleblower did not claim to have heard the exchange between the two leaders but instead relied on "multiple White House officials with direct knowledge of the call".

The whistleblower complaint alleged that Trump used the call to seek foreign help for personal political gain, a charge broadly substantiated by the testimonies of current and former USA officials in three weeks of closed hearings.

Mieke Eoyang, vice president for Third Way's National Security Program and a former staffer for Democrats on the House Intelligence Committee, said she'd had recent conversations with people in the intelligence community who expressed concerns about preserving the congressional channel of reporting for whistleblowers.

Those officials are David Hale, the No. 3 official at the State Department, the former USA special envoy to Ukraine Kurt Volker and former National Security Council staffer Tim Morrison. He pushed back against the inquiry as Republicans mount their defense.

Hale, Morrison and Volker have previously testified in closed sessions before the committees conducting the impeachment inquiry.

The transcripts - along with the White House's log of the Ukraine call and other public statements - largely corroborate the account of the whistleblower.

What goes without saying, though, is that few Republicans lawmakers are willing to say the call was "perfect" or that there was "no quid pro quo", as Trump insists. They're asking a judge to decide whether current and former top aides to Trump are immune from being questioned by the lawmakers.