(Bloomberg) -- House Republicans asked the chairman of the Intelligence Committee to call Hunter Biden, the anonymous whistle-blower and others to testify during the panel’s public impeachment hearings that begin next week.
Representative Devin Nunes of California, the committee’s top Republican, wrote to panel Chairman Adam Schiff on Saturday in response to a Democratic request to justify calling specific individuals. The GOP had until Saturday to submit the names.
“Americans see through this sham impeachment process, despite the Democrats’ effort to retroactively legitimize it,” Nunes wrote.
Schiff in a statement said the panel is “evaluating the minority’s witness requests” and will give consideration to individuals within the scope of the inquiry.
President Donald Trump is facing the impeachment inquiry by House Democrats investigating whether U.S. military aid to Ukraine was hampered by political interference. Nunes called the House resolution that limits the way minority members call witnesses “a drastic departure from bipartisan precedent.” Nevertheless, he furnished Schiff with a list.
Trump again on Saturday called the inquiry as a “witch hunt” and said he was planning to release the transcript of an earlier call with the Ukrainian president -- their first -- as soon as Tuesday. He then told reporters “read the second and you’ll tell me if there’s anything wrong with it.” That call was made in April and is of interest to the Democrats leading the inquiry.
The Republicans’ witness list includes former Vice President Joe Biden’s son, Hunter, a former director of Ukraine gas company Burisma Holdings; Devon Archer, another former board member Nunes described as a a long-time business partner of Hunter Biden. Burisma was one of the largest private natural gas companies in the country
“Mr. Biden’s firsthand experiences with Burisma can assist the American public in understanding the nature and extent of Ukraine’s pervasive corruption, information that bears directly on President Trump’s longstanding and deeply held skepticism of the country,” Nunes wrote.
The list also includes Alexandra Chalupa, former employee of the Democratic National Committee who Nunes said provided negative information on Trump and Hillary Clinton in the 2016 campaign.
Nune said the whistle-blower, whose report on Trump’s July call with Ukraine’s president triggered the inquiry, was included because “President Trump should be afforded an opportunity to confront his accusers.” Nunes said the public needed an explanation for discrepancies between the whistle-blower’s account and the closed-door testimony of other committee witnesses.
In addition, Nunes said Republicans would also like to call Nellie Ohr, a former contractor for research firm Fusion GPS; and David Hale, undersecretary of state for political affairs, who Nunes said had experience dealing with U.S. foreign assistance programs.
The GOP requested that former National Security Council official Tim Morrison testify if Army Lieutenant Colonel Alexander Vindman is called to testify. Vindman heard Trump’s call with Ukraine’s president.
Nunes requested that former U.S. special representative to Ukraine Kurt Volker testify on the same panel as two other witnesses: Ambassador William Taylor and deputy assistant secretary of state George Kent. Nunes also called on “all individuals” relied upon by the the “anonymous whistle-blower” in drafting the complaint.
Schiff, in his statement, ruled out expanding the inquiry beyond its focus on the president’s actions.
“This inquiry is not, and will not serve, however, as a vehicle to undertake the same sham investigations into the Bidens or 2016 that the President pressed Ukraine to conduct for his personal political benefit, or to facilitate the President’s effort to threaten, intimidate, and retaliate against the whistleblower who courageously raised the initial alarm,” he said.
(Updates with Schiff statement in second and final paragraphs.)
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