Republicans, Democrats brace for first public testimony in impeachment inquiry

Republicans, Democrats brace for first public testimony in impeachment inquiry
© Greg Nash

President TrumpDonald John TrumpGOP senators balk at lengthy impeachment trial Warren goes local in race to build 2020 movement 2020 Democrats make play for veterans' votes MORE’s congressional allies and critics on Sunday doubled down on their respective positions on the impeachment inquiry as the House prepares to move into the public phase of the process.

Which witnesses should appear was a key topic after House Intelligence Committee ranking member Devin NunesDevin Gerald NunesOvernight Defense: Trump hosts Erdoğan at White House | Says Turkish leader has 'great relationship with the Kurds' | Highlights from first public impeachment hearing GOP zeroes in on alleged Ukraine meddling during impeachment testimony The Hill's 12:30 Report: Democrats open televised impeachment hearings MORE (R-Calif.) requested that former Vice President Joe BidenJoe BidenGOP senators balk at lengthy impeachment trial 2020 Democrats make play for veterans' votes 2020 Dems put focus on stemming veteran suicides MORE’s son Hunter Biden be called to testify. Republicans also plan to call the whistleblower whose complaint helped spark the inquiry, among others.

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Rep. Sean Patrick Maloney (D-N.Y.), a member of the Intelligence Committee, said that while some of the suggested Republican witnesses would likely be called, he saw no reason to have Hunter Biden as a witness.

“He has no knowledge of what the president did or didn’t do … there are certainly questions but it isn’t relevant to this week’s hearing,” Maloney said on “Fox News Sunday.”

Sen. Amy KlobucharAmy Jean KlobucharHillicon Valley: Federal inquiry opened into Google health data deal | Facebook reports millions of post takedowns | Microsoft shakes up privacy debate | Disney plus tops 10M sign-ups in first day Federal inquiry opened into Google health data deal Google sparks new privacy fears over health care data MORE (D-Minn.) expressed similar sentiments, telling CNN’s Jake TapperJacob (Jake) Paul TapperRepublicans, Democrats brace for first public testimony in impeachment inquiry Johnson dismisses testimony from White House officials contradicting Trump as 'just their impression' Saagar Enjeti: Harris campaign 'is failing because she doesn't stand for anything' MORE, “I have seen no reason why you would have Hunter Biden testify when from all the reports we’ve seen is that this is not a valid investigation.”

Democrats also indicated they were confident in their position going into public hearings, saying the depositions that have been released of closed-door sessions show evidence of impeachable offenses. 

Rep. Jackie SpeierKaren (Jackie) Lorraine Jacqueline SpeierDemocrats seize on new evidence in first public impeachment hearing Live coverage: House holds first public impeachment hearing Brindisi, Lamb recommended for Armed Services, Transportation Committees MORE (D-Calif.), meanwhile, said the inquiry thus far demonstrated a “very strong case of bribery.”

“Because you have an elected official, the president, demanding action of a foreign country in this case, and providing something of value, which is the investigation, and he is withholding aid, which is that official act,” she said on ABC’s “This Week.” “And the Constitution is very clear: treason, bribery or acts of omission. In this case, it's clearly one of those.”

And Rep. Eric SwalwellEric Michael SwalwellKey takeaways from first public impeachment hearing Kent, Taylor say they're not 'Never Trumpers' after Trump Twitter offensive Live coverage: House holds first public impeachment hearing MORE (D-Calif.) said on CBS’s “Face the Nation” that closed-door depositions had already shown evidence of an “extortion scheme” on the part of the White House.

However, Swalwell added, “It’s important that these witnesses raise their right hands and take questions from both Republicans and Democrats. … It’s important that the Republicans are afforded the opportunity to suggest which witnesses we should call and we’ll decide whether that’s relevant.”

On the Republican side, Rep. Will HurdWilliam Ballard HurdThe Hill's 12:30 Report: Democrats open televised impeachment hearings Here are the key players to watch at impeachment hearing Hillicon Valley: Schumer questions Army over use of TikTok | Federal court rules against random searches of travelers' phones | Groups push for election security funds in stopgap bill | Facebook's new payment feature | Disney+ launch hit by glitches MORE (Texas), a former CIA officer, broke with some of his colleagues by defending the whistleblower's right to anonymity.

“I think we should be protecting the identity of the whistleblower … because how we treat this whistleblower will impact whistleblowers in the future,” Hurd told Fox’s Chris WallaceChristopher (Chris) WallaceChris Wallace: Taylor testimony 'very damaging to President Trump' Republicans, Democrats brace for first public testimony in impeachment inquiry Intelligence panel Democrat: 'I think we will end up calling' some witnesses on GOP list MORE on “Fox News Sunday."

However, Hurd backed up Nunes’s call for Hunter Biden to testify.

“I think we should just turn over every rock and pursue every lead,” Hurd said.

“I would like to hear from Hunter Biden — I would love to hear from the other Americans who served on the board of Burisma,” he added, referencing the Ukrainian natural gas firm upon whose board the younger Biden served.

Sen. John KennedyJohn Neely KennedyMORE (R-La.) conceded that, depending on intent, Trump’s pressure on Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky to investigate the Bidens could have been “over the line.”

“Here are two possible scenarios: number one, the president asked for an investigation of a political rival, number two, the president asked for an investigation of possible corruption by someone who happens to be a political rival,” Kennedy said on CBS’s “Face the Nation.”

“The latter would be in the national interest, the former would be in the president’s parochial interest, which would be over the line,” he added.