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House Republican compares impeachment inquiry to 'mad soap opera'

Rep. Bruce Westerman (R-Ark.) on Friday criticized Democrats over their handling of the ongoing impeachment inquiry into President Trump's dealings with Ukraine.

"It's like a mad soap opera," Westerman told Hill.TV. "It's got a bad script and bad actors."

Westerman renewed calls for former Vice President Joe Biden's son Hunter Biden to testify as part of the inquiry.

"I don't think any of the questions I was hoping to get answered will happen in today's testimony because they're still not letting Republican witnesses come before the committee," he said. "The questions I want to get answered are from Hunter Biden and others."

Even though there is no evidence of wrongdoing, Trump has repeatedly accused then-Vice President Biden of pressuring the Ukrainian government to fire their top prosecutor general at the time, while his son, Hunter Biden, was serving on the board of a Ukrainian energy company.

However, Rep. Adam Schiff (D-Calif.), the Chairman of the House Intelligence Committee that's leading the inquiry, has made it clear that the panel's impeachment probe would not be used to investigate the Bidens.

"This inquiry is not, and will not serve ... 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," he said last week.

Westerman's comments came just moments before former U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine Marie Yovanovitch began her testimony in the second open hearing stemming from the impeachment inquiry.

Yovanovitch, who was ousted in May, described a State Department in "crisis" and said that the agency's failure to protect foreign service officials potentially put U.S. interests at risk.

House Democrats are currently investigating Trump's push for Ukraine to launch investigations into his political opponents, including Biden, a leading 2020 Democratic contender. 

William Taylor, the top U.S. diplomat in Ukraine, revealed in his testimony on Wednesday that U.S. Ambassador to the European Union Gordon Sonland told a member of his staff that Trump cared more about investigation into Biden than he did about Ukraine.

-Tess Bonn