House of Intelligence Committee member Rep. Jackie Speier has defended the Democrat’s impeachment inquiry against Donald Trump.
‘This is a very simple, straightforward act. The president broke the law,’ Speier said of the probe on Sunday, which is centered around Trump’s infamous call with Ukrainian president, Volodymyr Zelensky, to ABC’s ‘This Week’.
‘He went on a telephone call with the President of Ukraine and said “I have a favor though” and then proceeded to ask for an investigation of his rival. This is a very strong case of bribery.’
Speier added that the constitution is very clear on ‘treason, bribery or acts of omission,’ declaring that President Trump’s actions clearly amounts to at least ‘one of those’.
The Democrat also responded to the Republican’s request for the whistleblower to testify in the inquiry, calling his appearance unnecessary and said the individual ‘has great risk associated with his life right now.’
House of Intelligence Committee member and Democratic Representative Jackie Speier has defended the Democrat’s strategy in the impeachment inquiry
Speier added that the constitution is very clear on ‘treason, bribery or acts of omission,’ declaring that President Trump’s actions clearly amounts to ‘one of those’.
Ranking member of the House Armed Services Committee, Rep. Mac Thornberry, R-Texas, criticized the inquiry as being partisan in response to Speier’s comments Sunday.
‘I think whatever happens now, there will be a taint to this one-sided partisan approach to impeachment, that is different that has been used before, and so I think there will be intense skepticism about whatever they come up with.’
When pressed on whether he believes there’s weight behind the allegations central to the inquiry, Thornberry said he believed that ‘it is inappropriate for a president to ask a foreign leader to investigate a political rival.’
However, he added that he doesn’t believe it was an impeachable offense.
President Trump has denied he did anything wrong, and most Republicans, including those who have sat in on the depositions, have defended Trump’s actions.
On Wednesday, public hearings in the impeachment inquiry are set to begin, with Ambassador Bill Taylor and Deputy Assistant Secretary of State George Kent scheduled to appear first.
Former U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine, Marie Yovanovitch, is slated to testify on Friday.
Ranking member of the House Armed Services Committee, Rep. Mac Thornberry, R-Texas, criticized the inquiry as being partisan in response to Speier’s comments Sunday
House Republicans submitted their requests for witnesses on Saturday. Among the names shortlisted included Hunter Biden, the son of former Vice President Joe Biden and an individual listed as ‘the anonymous whistle blower’.
In addition, senior diplomat Kurt Volker; Tim Morrison, the senior director for Europe and Russia on the White House Security Council; and David Hale, the Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs, are all also named.
House Intelligence Committee Chairman Rep. Adam Schiff responded to the request to say that though the committee is evaluating the list, the impeachment inquiry will not serve as ‘vehicles for any Member to carry out the same sham investigations into the Bidens or debunked conspiracies about the 2016 U.S. election interference that President Trump pressed Ukraine to conduct for his personal political benefit.’
Schiff also said that the whistleblower’s testimony is unnecessary and redundant, and claimed that any such appearance would put the individual’s personal safety at risk.
‘In light of the President’s threats, the individual’s appearance before us would only place their personal safety at grave risk,’ Schiff said.
Spier agreed on Sunday, telling ABC: ‘The only thing that the whistleblower can say is that he was told by other people about the phone call. We have the other people coming forward to actually testify. So you have direct evidence, not indirect evidence.
‘And the whistleblower has great risk associated with his life right now. And he also has the right under the law, under the whistleblower statute, to have his whistleblower complaint filed and for him to be anonymous. We feel very strongly about whistleblower protection,’ she added.
After the whistleblower’s initial complaint from September, it was a foregone conclusion that his testimony would be needed to proceed if the House intended to draft articles of impeachment.
But several witnesses who have since come forward to testify under oath before Congress have corroborated the whistleblower’s claims.
House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff, a Democrat from California, informed ranking member Devin Nunes, a Republican, that the whistleblower whose complaint sparked the impeachment inquiry against President Trump will not be testifying in public
Trump personally appealed to Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy to investigate Biden.
A whistleblower’s complaint about that call triggered the probe, which also focuses on allegations that Trump was holding up military aid to Ukraine.
Republicans had stated in testimony that former State Department official George Kent raised concerns about ‘the appearance of a conflict of interest stemming from Mr. Biden’s position on Burisma’s board.’
He added that Marie Yovanovich, the former U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine, was prepared by the Obama State Department to address questions about Biden’s position on Burisma during her Senate confirmation process.
It has also emerged that the whistleblower, whose identity remains anonymous, has been asked testify publicly as part of the inquiry.
Donald Trump’s eldest son published the name of the alleged anonymous whistle-blower whose complaint fired the impeachment inquiry against Trump.
Amid calls by the president himself to expose the whistle-blower, Donald Trump Jr. tweeted the name of a CIA analyst that has circulated online for weeks, and linked to a Breitbart news article implying the person was pro-Democrat and anti-Trump.
The person named by that outlet is currently a registered Democrat but has previously registered as Republican; they have also been a CIA analyst.
House Republicans want Joe Biden’s son Hunter (left) to give evidence to testify at the Democrat’s impeachment inquiry into Donald Trump (right)
In a letter, Ranking Member of the House Intelligence Committee Devin Nunes wrote to Schiff, saying: ‘Because President Trump should be afforded an opportunity to confront his accusers, the anonymous whistleblower should testify.’
‘Moreover, given the multiple discrepancies between the whistleblower’s complaint and the closed-door testimony of the witnesses, it is imperative that the American people hear definitively how the whistleblower developed his or her information, and who else the whistleblower may have fed the information he or she gathered and how that treatment of classified information may have led to the false narrative being perpetrated by the Democrats during this process.’
Fox reported that Republicans also want to call Alexandra Chalupa as a witness.
She was a Ukrainian-American consultant for the Democratic National Committee, who allegedly held meetings with staff at the Ukrainian Embassy in Washington, D.C.
The claimed she is a ‘prime witness’ given Trump’s documented belief that the Ukrainian government meddled in the 2016 election to oppose his candidacy.
Nunes said this forms the basis for a reasonable desire for Ukraine to investigate the circumstances surrounding the election and any potential Ukrainian involvement.
Also included on the list are Nellie Ohr, a researcher at opposition research firm Fusion GPS, who allegedly told Congress that her firm obtained information from Ukraine.
The firm was paid by Democrats to compile dossier on Trump’s Russia ties which was turned over to the FBI before the presidential election and formed the basis of the Mueller investigation into Russian meddling in the 2016 election.
Burisma Holdings is the Ukrainian energy company where Hunter Biden held a lucrative board seat while his father was vice president. He was reportedly paid $50,000 per month
When he was Vice-Presiednt, Joe Biden urged the Ukrainian government to fire a prosecutor, which Trump and his allies have charged was done to benefit Burisma. The Bidens have denied this and there has been no evidence of wrong-doing on their part
Last month, Hunter Biden said he exercised poor judgement in his business deals with Ukraine and China.
But he emphasized he did nothing wrong in the scandals that have engulfed his father’s presidential bid and made the family a political target for President Trump.
‘In retrospect, look, I think that it was poor judgment on my part. Is that I think that it was poor judgment because I don’t believe now, when I look back on it – I know that there was – did nothing wrong at all,’ he told ABC News in an interview that aired Tuesday morning on Good Morning America.
‘However, was it poor judgment to be in the middle of something that is…a swamp in- in – in many ways? Yeah.’
‘I gave a hook to some very unethical people to act in illegal ways to try to do some harm to my father. That’s where I made the mistake,’ he noted.
‘So I take full responsibility for that. Did I do anything improper? No, not in any way. Not in any way whatsoever.’
‘Did I make a mistake? Well, maybe in the grand scheme of things, yeah,’ he said, in reference to fallout from his overseas business. ‘But did I make a mistake based upon some ethical lapse? Absolutely not.’
Hunter Biden told ABC News he never spoke with his father about his business dealings with Burisma Holdings, the Ukrainian company he worked with while his father was vice president.
Republicans want Nellie Ohr, (left), to testify at the impeachment inquiry as she worked at research firm Fusion GPS which commissioned a dossier on Russian meddling in the 2016 election. Her husband is Justice Department official Bruce Ohr, (right)
Fox reported that Republicans also want to call Alexandra Chalupa as a witness. Chalupa was a Ukrainian-American consultant for the Democratic National Committee
During that time Joe Biden urged the Ukrainian government to fire a prosecutor, which Trump and his allies have charged was done to benefit Burisma. The Bidens have denied this and there has been no evidence of wrong-doing on their part.
‘There is no but to this, no, we never did,’ Hunter Biden, claiming he didn’t discuss his business dealings with his father.
Asked why, Hunter replied: ‘Because my dad was the vice president of the United States. There’s nothing as a young man or full grown adult that my father in some way hasn’t had influence over as it does not serve either one of us.’
He said he did not regret his work with Burisma. Biden stepped down from the company’s board in April.
Biden, who had no previous experience in the energy industry, defended being appointed to the board of a gas company, where reports had him being paid $50,000 a month.
Schiff announced that the public phase of Democratic-run impeachment hearings is about to begin, with three key witnesses scheduled to appear next week.
First to speak in a hearing involving three Democratic-run committees will be Bill Taylor, the top U.S. diplomat in Ukraine, who raised alarms in internal messages about holding up U.S. military aid.
Trump personally appealed to Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy to investigate Biden
First to speak in a hearing involving three Democratic-run committees will be Bill Taylor, (pictured), the top U.S. diplomat in Ukraine, who raised alarms in internal messages about holding up U.S. military aid
Taylor testified last month that he was told that U.S. security military aid to the country was contingent on Kiev putting out a statement they were investigating the Bidens and the 2016 election.
His testimony was buttressed on Tuesday by ambassador to the EU Gordon Sondland, who testifies he personally told a top Ukrainian official the aid was likely contingent on a public statement about investigating corruption.
Among those testifying before the cameras will be Marie Yovanovitch, the former U.S. ambassador to Ukraine who was pushed out of her post after a campaign to undermine her by Trump lawyer Rudy Giuliani.
Yovanovitch testified in private that she was never told why she was removed from her post.
The first witness to speak to the nation will be Bill Taylor, the top U.S. diplomat in Ukraine who wrote in a text message he thought it was ‘crazy’ to link U.S. military support to that country with a push for investigations related to a political campaign.