Over the weekend, Republicans released their list of witnesses they want to testify in the Democrat-led impeachment hearings, and many Democrats are clearly unhappy about it, decrying the witness list as an attempt to supposedly promote pro-Trump conspiracy theories. While one particularly incensed Democrat told the Republicans to “GET LOST” in response to the “sham” list, President Trump appears to have given his official endorsement of the people GOP congressional committee members would like to get a chance to ask some tough questions related to Ukraine.
On Monday, Trump retweeted the list posted by House Oversight Committee Ranking Member Rep. Jim Jordan (R-OH):
- The whistleblower and all of the whistleblower’s alleged sources
- Hunter Biden, Joe Biden’s son who was hired by Ukraine-based energy company Burisma Holdings shortly after his father was appointed as head of U.S.-Ukraine relations
- Devon Archer, Hunter Biden’s former long-time business partner who also served on the board of Burisma
- Alexandra Chalupa, a “Ukrainian-American consultant for the Democratic National Committee who allegedly had meetings with officials at the Ukrainian Embassy in Washington, D.C. to discuss incriminating information about Trump campaign officials during the 2016 presidential election,” as Fox News explains. (Chalupa’s alleged role in trying to dig up dirt on Trump was first reported by Politico in 2017.)
- Nellie Ohr, who testified in front of Congress in 2018 that Fusion GPS compiled the salacious anti-Trump Steele dossier in part from information from Ukrainian sources
- Kurt Volker, a former envoy to Ukraine
- Tim Morrison, a former National Security Council official
Republicans have requested a list of witnesses for the impeachment hearings (alphabetical order):
-The “Whistleblower” & their sources
Will @RepAdamSchiff permit them to testify?
— Rep. Jim Jordan (@Jim_Jordan) November 9, 2019
As first reported by Fox News, Intelligence Committee Ranking Member Devin Nunes (R-CA) accused House Intelligence Committee Chair Adam Schiff (D-CA), who’s heading up the Democrats’ impeachment efforts, in a letter Saturday of overseeing a “sham impeachment process” and explained the rationale for the witnesses included in the Republicans’ list.
“Americans see through this sham impeachment process, despite the Democrats’ efforts to retroactively legitimize it last week,” wrote Nunes. “To provide transparency to your otherwise opaque and unfair process, and after consultation with [House Oversight Committee] Ranking Member Jim Jordan and [House Foreign Affairs Committee] Ranking Member Michael McCaul, the American people deserve to hear from the following witnesses in an open setting.”
“Because the Democrats’ resolution unfairly restricts Minority rights and because you have provided no information about which witnesses you may invite to testify at future hearings not yet scheduled, we reserve our right to request additional witnesses, if necessary, as you announce additional hearings,” Nunes wrote. “Your failure to fulfill Minority witness requests shall constitute evidence of your denial of fundamental fairness and due process.”
Nunes preemptively defended the choices of the witnesses, including Chalupa, who he said is included because of Trump’s “documented belief that the Ukrainian government meddled in the 2016 election to oppose his candidacy, which forms the basis for a reasonable desire for Ukraine to investigate the circumstances surrounding the election and any potential Ukrainian involvement.” Chalupa, he wrote, “is a prime fact witness who can assist Congress and the American public in better understanding the facts and circumstances surrounding Ukrainian involvement in the 2016 election.”
Ohr’s work with Fusion GPS, which included “assist[ing] in the production of the Steele Dossier,” in part allegedly using Ukrainian sources, also makes her a key witness.
As for the whistleblower, Republicans have been increasingly demanding a public testimony so Trump can “face his accuser.”
Democrats appear to have been unimpressed by the list, House Democratic Caucus Chair Rep. Hakeem Jeffries (D-NY) tweeting in response to the “sham” list: “My two cents? GET LOST.”
Media outlets have since been working to “fact-check” the list. While Fox News took the list of witnesses seriously, explaining the roles the potential witnesses have played in Ukraine-related developments, others, like MSNBC and The New York Times predictably approached it with a skepticism mirroring the Democrats.
Along with retweeting the Republicans’ witness list, Trump has been applying even more pressure for the anonymous whistleblower to come forward.
“The lawyer for the Whistleblower takes away all credibility from this big Impeachment Scam! It should be ended and the Whistleblower, his lawyer and Corrupt politician Schiff should be investigated for fraud!” Trump tweeted Monday.
“Shifty Adam Schiff will only release doctored transcripts. We haven’t even seen the documents and are restricted from (get this) having a lawyer. Republicans should put out their own transcripts! Schiff must testify as to why he MADE UP a statement from me, and read it to all!” he wrote in another, adding later: “Where is the Whistleblower who gave so much false information? Must testify along with Schiff and others!”