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In the latest iteration of his increasingly frantic pushback against the impeachment inquiry in the House, President Trump on Thursday said investigators should call former Vice President Joe Biden and his son Hunter to testify in the probe.
Trump tweeted a quote, attributed to Sen. John Kennedy, R-La., asking how Hunter Biden was qualified to sit on the board of a Ukrainian natural gas company while his father was carrying out U.S. policy against corruption in Ukraine.
“A very good question,” Trump tweeted. “He and Sleepy Joe must testify!”
The impeachment hearings were triggered by allegations that the White House pressured Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky to investigate Joe Biden, a leading candidate to challenge Trump in the 2020 election.
The call for the Bidens to testify stands in contrast to the White House’s refusal to allow Trump administration officials to comply with subpoenas in the ongoing hearings.
Just this week, four administration officials, including acting White House chief of staff Mick Mulvaney, defied congressional subpoenas for closed-door hearings.
House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff, D-Calif., told reporters that the officials’ failure to appear despite subpoenas would be considered “further evidence” of obstruction. The first public hearings in the impeachment probe will be held next week.
“It was just explained to me that for next weeks Fake Hearing (trial) in the House, as they interview Never Trumpers and others, I get NO LAWYER & NO DUE PROCESS,” Trump tweeted. “This Witch Hunt should not be allowed to proceed!”
If the House ultimately votes to impeach Trump, he will have a trial in the Republican-controlled Senate, under rules established by majority vote — as a practical matter, largely in the purview of Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell. If the Republican caucus approves, Trump’s lawyers can call their own witnesses, including the Bidens if they wish. It isn’t clear what testimony Trump believes they could provide.
Trump’s repeated calls for Ukraine to investigate the Bidens are at the center of a whistleblower’s complaint that set off the impeachment inquiry into the president. Trump had ordered the withholding of U.S. military aid to Ukraine unless Zelensky agreed to launch a public investigation into the Bidens as well as a debunked conspiracy theory advanced by the president’s lawyer Rudy Giuliani about the 2016 election.
There is no evidence the Bidens were involved in any corrupt dealings in Ukraine, although Hunter Biden’s acceptance of a lucrative position on the board of the Ukrainian company, Burisma, has been criticized as an example of how the families of prominent political figures take advantage of their connections.
In an interview with ABC’s “Good Morning America” in October, Hunter Biden said there was nothing “improper” in his business dealings, but admitted he may have shown “poor judgment.”
“Was it poor judgment to be in the middle of something that is ... a swamp in — in — in many ways? Yeah,” he said.
“My son did nothing wrong. I did nothing wrong,” Joe Biden said at the October Democratic debate in Ohio. “The fact of the matter is this is about Trump’s corruption. That is what we should be focusing on.”
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