This coming week, House impeachment investigators are set to hold their first public hearings, including the witnesses top Ukraine diplomat Bill Taylor, former Ukraine Ambassador Marie Yovanovitch, and State Department official George Kent. As those approach, the House Intelligence Committee’s top Republican Rep. Devin Nunes (Calif.) has resorted to demanding that none other than Intel Committee Chairman Adam Schiff (D-Calif.) himself testify behind closed doors as part of the impeachment inquiry. Even at this early stage of the overall investigation, the GOP has already resorted to again trying to investigate the investigators.
They seem more concerned about who ratted out the apparent crimes than they are about the crimes themselves.
In a belligerent letter to Schiff, Nunes wrote:
‘Based on the precedent and lack of jurisdiction, the House Intelligence Committee should not take the lead in conducting such hearings; however, by now the American people know your desire to see the duly-elected president removed from office outweighs your sense of responsibility to running a functioning intelligence oversight committee. Prior to the start of your public show trial next week, at least one additional closed-door deposition must take place. Specifically, I request that you sit for a closed-door deposition before the House Intelligence, Foreign Affairs and Oversight Committees.’
That’s not going to happen — but that didn’t stop Nunes from making a show of demanding that it did anyway.
Republicans have zeroed in on Schiff with allegations like that he colluded with an initial whistleblower in the development of their complaint that helped spark the impeachment inquiry, but that is false. President Donald Trump himself suggested that Schiff may have even helped write the whistleblower’s complaint, but, again, that’s false. The whistleblower contacted committee staff for direction on handling their concerns, and they were pointed to the intelligence community’s inspector general, who they promptly detailed their concerns to. That’s all.
Besides, many of the details in the whistleblower’s complaint have since been backed up by evidence including a call record that the White House themselves released covering a conversation between Trump and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky in which Trump said Ukraine should get in touch with Attorney General Bill Barr and personal Trump lawyer Rudy Giuliani to get an investigation into the Bidens going. That’s pretty clear cut! That hoped-for Biden investigation was going to be based on baseless charges that then-Vice President Joe Biden pressured Ukraine to fire a certain top prosecutor because it would help his son, Hunter.
Nunes is not the only one who’s desperately trying to divert from these facts. Trump has also consistently singled out Schiff for criticism. For example, on November 1, he belligerently tweeted:
‘Republicans have never been more unified than they are right now! The Dems are a mess under the corrupt leadership of Nervous Nancy Pelosi and Shifty Adam Schiff!’
He’s also addressed the upcoming public hearings. He falsely suggested that he should be able to have a lawyer present for Congressional questioning of witnesses, which has proceeded innumerable times without a presidential lawyer present.
Whether he likes it or not, the public hearings will be happening.