Rep. Schiff Evaluating House Republicans Witness List Request

By Janita Kan
Janita Kan
Janita Kan
Janita Kan is a reporter based in New York covering the Justice Department, courts, and First Amendment.
November 9, 2019 Updated: November 10, 2019

House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff (D-Calif.) responded to the list of witnesses the House Republicans have requested to bring in for questioning in open impeachment inquiry hearings.

Schiff, responding to the committee’s ranking Republican Devin Nunes‘s (R-Calif.) request to subpoena witnesses including Hunter Biden and the whistleblower, said the committee is evaluating the list and “will give due consideration to witnesses within the scope of the impeachment inquiry.”

“As we move into the open hearing phase of the inquiry, the Committee is mindful that we are engaged in a sober endeavor rooted in the Constitution to determine whether the President of the United States engaged in misconduct that warrants impeachment by the House,” he said in the statement.

He then warned that the impeachment inquiry won’t be used to investigate former Vice President Joe Biden and his son Hunter Biden or allegations of Ukrainian meddling in the 2016 U.S. presidential elections.

“This inquiry is not, and will not serve, however, as a vehicle to undertake the same sham investigations into the Bidens or 2016 that the President pressed Ukraine to conduct for his personal political benefit, or to facilitate the President’s effort to threaten, intimidate, and retaliate against the whistleblower who courageously raised the initial alarm,” Schiff said.

Nunes listed the witnesses House Republicans would like to hear from in a letter (pdf) to Schiff on Nov. 9. They include Hunter Biden’s longtime business partner Devon Archer, the person who filed a complaint against President Donald Trump over Trump’s July phone call with Ukraine’s president, and the “more than half a dozen sources” who the whistleblower cited in the complaint, which relied on secondhand information and media reports.

“President Trump should be afforded an opportunity to confront his accusers, the anonymous whistleblower should testify,” Nunes wrote.

“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,” he added.

Alexandra Chalupa, a former Democratic National Committee consultant, and Nellie Ohr, a researcher at Fusion GPS, are also on the list.

Nunes said Chalupa worked with the Ukrainian embassy in Washington to obtain information during the 2016 election about then-candidate Trump’s campaign.

Nunes wrote: “Given President 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, Ms. Chalupa 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.”

Similarly, Nunes said Ohr is a “prime fact witness” because she helped produce an unreliable dossier that made salacious claims, without evidence, about Trump and his campaign in 2016.

“In a 2018 interview with the House Judiciary and Oversight committees, Ms. Ohr stated that, during her work with Fusion GPS that ultimately assisted in the production of the Steele Dossier—comprising false allegations against then-candidate Trump—Fusion GPS used information from sources in Ukraine, including Serhiy Leshchenko who recently lost his post from the Ukrainian parliament,” Nunes wrote.

Meanwhile, Republicans want several former or current White House officials, including former National Security Council official Tim Morrison, former Ukraine envoy Kurt Volker, and State Department official David Hale to testify as well.

Along with the list submitted on Nov. 9, Nunes has formally requested Schiff to testify in the probe, saying the committee chairman has misled the public about his and his staff’s interactions with the anonymous whistleblower prior to the complaint being filed.

“As the American public is now aware, in August 2019, you and/or your staff met with or talked to the whistleblower,” Nunes wrote.

“Although you publicly claim nothing inappropriate was discussed, the three committees deserve to hear directly from you, the substance and circumstances surrounding any discussions conducted with the whistleblower, and any instructions you issued regarding those discussions. Given that you have reneged on your public commitment to let the committees interview the whistleblower directly, you are the only individual who can provide clarity as to these conversations.”

Zachary Stieber contributed to this report.

Janita Kan
Janita Kan
Janita Kan is a reporter based in New York covering the Justice Department, courts, and First Amendment.