As House prepares for public impeachment hearings, Republicans want whistleblower to testify

Adam Schiff

Republicans said on Friday they are moving U.S. Representative Jim Jordan, one of President Donald Trump's most tenacious defenders, onto the congressional committee that will hold public hearings next week on Trump's possible impeachment. The whistleblower sparked the inquiry into Trump's efforts to pressure Ukraine to investigate former vice-president Joe Biden and his son Hunter Biden.

The other invited witness, former National Security Advisor John Bolton was a no-show.

In a letter to Democratic Rep. Adam Schiff, who is leading the inquiry, Republican Rep. Devin Nunes said that calling these witnesses would help ensure the investigation "treats the President with fairness".

The list, obtained by Fox News on Saturday, must be approved by House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff (D-California) under the rules approved on a party-line vote October 31.

Early on, as the White House ceded the PR strategy to the president, Republicans in the House and Senate parted ways as they confronted the political threat posed by the Democrats' impeachment investigation.

"We'd like to figure out who those witnesses should be so the American people can get the facts, get the truth and we now who these individuals are", Jordan said last month.

House Democrats will soon finish up their series of closed-door hearings.

"The intelligence community and Congress must continue to do all we can to protect the current whistleblower's identity and personal safety", said Sen.

Despite attacks by Trump and his supporters against the Ukraine whistleblower, others, like the Central Intelligence Agency employee, will not be dissuaded from exposing wrongdoing, according to one who did. Senators could say they disagreed with the House process, he said, or they could simply say that as potential jurors in an eventual impeachment trial they wouldn't discuss it, according to the people familiar with the meeting. "That's raising the bar too high on reporting concerns".

Rep. Gerald E. Connolly (D-Va.), chairman of the House Oversight and Reform subcommittee on government operations, said Trump's actions "could have a chilling effect on the very whistleblowers we rely on to root out corruption and fraud in the federal government". As recently as 2017, he was supportive of whistleblowers staying anonymous, as first reported by the Daily Beast.

The list also includes Nellie Ohr, a former Fusion GPS contractor, and Alexandra Chalupa, a former Democratic National Committee staffer, signaling that the GOP still wants to focus unsubstantiated election-related claims to the 2016 presidential campaign.

Kate Irby is based in Washington, D.C. and reports on issues important to McClatchy's California newspapers, including the Sacramento Bee, Fresno Bee and Modesto Bee.

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