Republicans, Democrats brace for first public testimony in impeachment inquiry | TheHill

President TrumpDonald John TrumpFormer National Security Adviser John Bolton gets book deal: report Trump administration proposes fee for asylum applications, spike in other immigration fees Biden expresses shock that Trump considers attending Russia May Day event 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 NunesHouse Republicans add Hunter Biden, whistleblower to impeachment hearing witness wish list Nunes demands Schiff testify behind closed doors in Trump impeachment inquiry Democrats aim to impeach Trump by Christmas MORE (R-Calif.) requested that former Vice President Joe BidenJoe BidenDecember Democratic debate venue switched to Loyola Marymount University Biden expresses shock that Trump considers attending Russia May Day event Strategists say Warren ‘Medicare for All’ plan could appeal to centrists MORE’s son Hunter Biden be called to testify. Republicans also plan to call the whistleblower whose complaint helped spark the inquiry, among others.

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 KlobucharDecember Democratic debate venue switched to Loyola Marymount University Centrist Democrats seize on state election wins to rail against Warren’s agenda Bloomberg threatens to shake up 2020 primary MORE (D-Minn.) expressed similar sentiments, telling CNN’s Jake TapperJacob (Jake) Paul TapperSaagar Enjeti: Harris campaign ‘is failing because she doesn’t stand for anything’ Top Trump administration officials hail al-Baghdadi raid but stress need for resolve in fighting ISIS Former House Intel Committee Chair: ‘No way we could have’ killed ISIS leader without the Kurds 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 SpeierThe Hill’s Morning Report – Transcripts expected to heat up impeachment battle Trump allies assail impeachment on process while House Democrats promise open hearings soon Speier: Hearing transcripts will likely be released in next five days 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 SwalwellTop diplomat says Giuliani’s ‘campaign of lies’ took down veteran ambassador The Democrats’ generational battle Trump: Whistleblower ‘must come forward’ 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 HurdGOP lawmaker: If the party doesn’t adapt to new demographics ‘there won’t be a Republican Party’ GOP lawmaker: Trump administration ‘playing checkers’ in Syria while others are ‘playing chess’ Sunday shows — Mulvaney seeks to tamp down firestorm over quid pro quo comments, Doral decision 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: Impeachment hearings ‘an utterly polarized, utterly partisan exercise’ Gabbard accuses Joy Behar of spreading ‘innuendos’ about her Trump allies assail impeachment on process while House Democrats promise open hearings soon 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.

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