Graham says Schiff should be a witness in Trump impeachment trial

Graham says Schiff should be a witness in Trump impeachment trial
© Greg Nash

Sen. Lindsey GrahamLindsey Olin GrahamThe Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Facebook - Trump tweets as tensions escalate across US This week: Senate reconvenes as protests roil nation amid pandemic Trump asserts his power over Republicans MORE (R-S.C.) said on Wednesday that House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam SchiffAdam Bennett SchiffFlynn urged Russian diplomat to have 'reciprocal' response to Obama sanctions, new transcripts show The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Facebook - George Floyd's death sparks protests, National Guard activation Hillicon Valley: Trump signs order targeting social media legal protections | House requests conference with Senate after FISA vote canceled | Minneapolis systems temporarily brought down by hackers MORE (D-Calif.) should be a witness in the Senate's impeachment trial. 

Graham was asked during an interview with Fox News's Sean HannitySean Patrick HannityHannity scolds Ozarks partygoers: 'Could be a disaster' for vulnerable Americans Trump lashes out at Fox News after poll shows him trailing Biden Trump complains Fox News is 'doing nothing to help' him get reelected MORE if senators would try to call Schiff, his staff, the whistleblower or Hunter Biden as part of an impeachment trial. 
 
"As a matter of oversight, I'm not going to call a House member, but if you impeach the president of the United States, I want to find out if in fact Schiff and his staff met with the whistleblower," Graham said. 
 
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"So if there's a trial in the Senate, one of the witnesses will be Adam Schiff because if he in fact did meet with the whistleblower and coach the guy up, I think that's relevant to the impeachment inquiry itself," Graham continued. 
 
Graham appeared to be referring to a moment during the public impeachment inquiry hearing earlier in the day when Schiff pushed back against an accusation from Rep. Jim JordanJames (Jim) Daniel JordanThe Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Facebook - George Floyd's death sparks protests, National Guard activation Hillicon Valley: Trump signs order targeting social media legal protections | House requests conference with Senate after FISA vote canceled | Minneapolis systems temporarily brought down by hackers House punts on FISA, votes to begin negotiations with Senate MORE (R-Ohio) that he knew the identity of the whistleblower whose claim is at the center of the House impeachment inquiry. 
 
When Jordan said Schiff was the only member of Congress who knew the whistleblower's identity, Schiff responded, "As the gentleman knows, that's a false statement. I do not know the identity of the whistleblower." 
 
A spokesman for Schiff didn't immediately respond to a request for comment. 
 
Senate leadership has given no indication about who it may or may not allow to be called as witnesses as part of a likely Senate impeachment trial. 
 
The Senate passed a resolution 100-0 during the Clinton impeachment trial that established the procedure for filing motions, how long senators would have to ask questions and the way witnesses would be called.
 
But a second resolution specifying which individuals would be called as witnesses faltered along party lines.
 
 
Republicans have seized on Schiff as a top antagonist as they've looked for a strategy to combat the House impeachment inquiry, which centers on whether Trump withheld aid to Ukraine in an effort to get Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky to launch an investigation into former Vice President Joe BidenJoe BidenStopping Israel's annexation is a US national security interest Trump slams Biden staff for donating bail money to protesters At least 4,400 people arrested in connection with protests: report MORE and his son Hunter Biden.
 
A source familiar with the whistleblower's contacts told Reuters on Wednesday that the whistleblower never spoke or met with Schiff. 
 
Republicans first homed in on Schiff in the wake of a New York Times story earlier this year reporting that the whistleblower reached out to him before going to the intelligence community's inspector general. 
 
Democrats defended Schiff at the time, arguing that whistleblowers routinely reach out to the Intelligence Committee and that the chairman's staff followed protocol by telling him or her to contact the inspector general.
 
A spokesman for Schiff has also said that the committee didn't review the whistleblower complaint in advance and that Schiff knew neither the details of the complaint nor the whistleblower's identity.