Rep. Devin Nunes (R-Calif.), the ranking Republican on the House Intelligence Committee, said that Democrat-released transcripts of impeachment inquiry depositions actually don’t bode well for the Democrats.
Democrats, led by House Intelligence Chair Adam Schiff (D-Calif.), have said that the transcripts show that President Donald Trump abused his power by asking Ukraine to investigate former Vice President Joe Biden, a potential 2020 candidate, and his son, Hunter Biden. The younger Biden was on the board of Ukraine’s Burisma Holdings when his father served as vice president.
They specifically stated that the transcripts have revealed there was quid pro quo involved in the White House’s dealings with Kyiv, claiming that hundreds of millions of dollars in military aid was withheld unless Ukraine opened an anti-corruption probe. Trump has denied the quid pro quo charge.
Speaking to Fox News’ Sean Hannity on Monday night, Nunes said that Democrats are attempting to frame the transcripts as an impeachable offense, but they will, in fact, be “devastating to the Democrats” during the public phase of the impeachment hearings that are to start Wednesday.
“Let’s see how this goes this week,” Nunes told the news outlet. “My guess is it’s going to be a complete circus. We’re not going to get any of our witnesses. The mainstream media is going to say how damaging it is to the president. That’s just going to be the storyline.”
“But the fact of the matter is if you actually read these transcripts and Gregg Jarrett was just going through them … these transcripts as we were saying when the Democrats were slowly leaking these out to their friends in the media–that’s what we’ve been doing for the last six weeks,” he remarked.
After the release of the transcripts, Nunes continued, “They’re devastating to the Democrats. So, let’s see where it goes. But at the end of the day, the Senate should be calling all these people in as soon as possible.”
On Wednesday, the public impeachment hearings are to start at 10 a.m. ET and the second hearing is on Friday at 9 a.m. ET, reported NPR.
Former U.S. diplomat Bill Taylor will be the first to testify. He claimed there was an “irregular channel,” or a parallel foreign policy channel in Ukraine. George Kent, the deputy assistant secretary of state for European and Eurasian affairs, also claimed that Rudy Giuliani, Trump’s lawyer, pushed for investigations.
Schiff last week said that the whistleblower at the center of the impeachment inquiry will not testify. Republicans have said that the whistleblower should be unmasked as it could reveal any potential biases he had against the president.
Trump and other Republicans also called on Schiff to testify after the California congressman confirmed that his office had contact with the whistleblower before the person’s complaint was reportedly made.