Republicans, Democrats brace for first public testimony in impeachment inquiry

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

President TrumpDonald TrumpMyPillow CEO to pull ads from Fox News Haaland, Native American leaders press for Indigenous land protections Simone Biles, Vince Lombardi and the courage to walk away 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 NunesSunday shows preview: Bipartisan infrastructure talks drag on; Democrats plow ahead with Jan. 6 probe Lawmakers spend more on personal security in wake of insurrection Tucker Carlson claims NSA leaked private emails to journalists MORE (R-Calif.) requested that former Vice President Joe BidenJoe BidenFirst lady leaves Walter Reed after foot procedure Biden backs effort to include immigration in budget package MyPillow CEO to pull ads from Fox News 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 KlobucharBill would honor Ginsburg, O'Connor with statues at Capitol Overnight Health Care: CDC advises vaccinated to wear masks in high-risk areas | Biden admin considering vaccine mandate for federal workers Four senators call on Becerra to back importation of prescription drugs from Canada MORE (D-Minn.) expressed similar sentiments, telling CNN’s Jake TapperJacob (Jake) Paul TapperAly Raisman defends former teammate Biles: 'I'm proud of her' House Republican calls second bout of COVID-19 'far more challenging' Fauci says vulnerable populations may need vaccine booster shots 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 SpeierJimmy and Rosalynn Carter celebrate 75th anniversary, longest-married presidential couple Military braces for sea change on justice reform House panel plans mid-July consideration of military justice overhaul 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 SwalwellDOJ declines to back Mo Brooks's defense against Swalwell's riot lawsuit Tech executives increased political donations amid lobbying push Justice in legal knot in Mo Brooks, Trump case 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 HurdFirst Democrat jumps into key Texas House race to challenge Gonzales Will the real Lee Hamiltons and Olympia Snowes please stand up? The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Facebook - Biden, Congress drawn into pipeline cyberattack, violence in Israel 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) WallaceAnything-but-bipartisan 1/6 commission will seal Pelosi's retirement. Here's why Biden walks fine line with Fox News Aides who clashed with Giuliani intentionally gave him wrong time for Trump debate prep: book 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.