Schiff Whacks Nunes' Witness Requests: Will Not Abet 'Sham Investigations'

Peter T. King Devin Nunes are posing for

Chip Somodevilla Getty Images Rep. Devin Nunes, right and Rep. Peter King, left

Republicans on the House Intelligence Committee have requested that Hunter Biden, son of Former US Vice President Joe Biden, testify in the impeachment inquiry into US President Donald, according to a document made public Saturday.

Previously, the whistleblower had offered to answer questions under oath and in writing if submitted by the House Intelligence Committee as a whole.

The White House released a memo of the July 25 call at the center of the inquiry, which Graham referred to in his interview, that shows Trump asking Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky for "a favor" and later asking him to "look into" Biden.

US House Intelligence Committee Ranking Member Rep. Devin Nunes, a California Republican, questions Acting Director of National Intelligence Joseph Maguire as he testifies before the committee on Capitol Hill in Washington, September 26, 2019.

The impeachment inquiry is set to begin public hearings of witnesses next week, a divisive move which Republicans have deemed an attempt to sway public opinion against the United States president.

Trump has accused the Bidens of unspecified corruption due to Hunter Biden's role as a director of Ukraine energy company Burisma when Joe Biden - now a leading candidate to challenge Trump in the 2020 election - was vice president.

Schiff said three State Department witnesses will appear in two hearings Wednesday and Friday: the USA ambassador to Ukraine, Bill Taylor, career department official George Kent, and Marie Yovanovitch, the former U.S. ambassador to Ukraine.

But he vowed the inquiry would not be "a vehicle to undertake the same sham investigations into the Bidens... that the president pressed Ukraine to conduct for his personal political benefit".

"It's important that the president has due process, and evidence is not a conclusion", Swalwell said. That call became the catalyst for the impeachment inquiry.

On Saturday, Trump suggested other names should be added to the list for the inquiry, which he continues to call a "witch hunt".

Schiff said the committee is "carefully evaluating the witness list you provided, along with the written justifications you included". He continued, "You'll read the second call, and you'll tell me if there's anything wrong with it".

The GOP also requested Nellie Ohr, a former Fusion GPS contractor, and Alexandra Chalupa, a former Democratic National Committee staffer, signalling that Republicans still want to focus on unsubstantiated claims related to the 2016 presidential campaign. "And I also see the need for Hunter Biden to be called to adequately defend the president". He also has asked that all individuals who provided information to the whistleblower should be compelled to appear.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said the president engaged in nothing short of a "cover-up" as Democrats turned their laser focus on the Ukraine matter as central to their impeachment probe. They previously have testified behind closed doors.

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