California Democrat: No reason for whistleblower to testify

By Rishika Dugyala

Rep. Jackie Speier (D-Calif.) on Sunday didn’t budge: The whistleblower who called attention to President Donald Trump’s Ukraine call and spurred an impeachment inquiry doesn’t need to testify.

“I think the Republicans are making an issue of anything that they think will give them some gravitas,” the House Intelligence Committee member said on ABC‘s “This Week.“ “The only thing that the whistleblower can say is that he was told by other people about the phone call. We have the other people coming forward to actually testify.”

Last week brought the release of transcripts of witnesses' testimonies corroborating the whistleblower’s account. Some of that testimony strengthened allegations that the president asked Ukraine to investigate former Vice President Joe Biden and his son Hunter Biden in return for military aid.

With the inquiry going public in a matter of days, House Republicans on Saturday submitted a list of people they’d like to question during the inquiry, including the whistleblower and Hunter Biden.

House Intelligence Chairman Adam Schiff (D-Calif.) on Saturday was adamant that the whistleblower’s testimony would be “redundant and unnecessary.” He also said the inquiry would not serve as a vehicle for “the same sham investigation into the Bidens or 2016.”

On Sunday, Speier dismissed the notion that — even if lawmakers could guarantee the individual’s safety — the whistleblower should testify to appease Republicans worried about what they say is an unequal and unfair process.

“There are other witnesses the Republicans have requested that I would think the chairman is going to make available to testify. Tim Morrison is one. Kurt Volker is another,” she said. “We want to stay focused on the Ukraine call.”

Later on ABC, Texas Rep. Mac Thornberry delivered the Republican response, saying that whatever happens with the inquiry going forward will have a partisan "taint" and will be received with "intense skepticism." A president asking a foreign leader to investigate a political rival is inappropriate, he added, but it is not an impeachable offense.

"There's a reason we let murderers and robbers and rapists go free when their due process rights have been violated," Thornberry said. "We believe the integrity of the system, the integrity of the Constitution, the integrity of the processes under our legal system is more important than the outcome of one particular case."

Still, when asked whether Hunter Biden and the whistleblower should be asked to testify, Thornberry hedged.

"Like most members of Congress, I've not been in the room for all these hearings and secret proceedings. So, I don't really know who the proper witnesses ought to be," he said. "I think what Jackie Speier said is right: The whistle-blower basically has third-hand information."