Republicans turn focus on Biden in Trump hearings

Cheryl Sanders
November 11, 2019

President Donald Trump (R) and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky speak during a meeting at the United Nations in NY on September 25, 2019; an earlier phone call formed the basis for an impeachment inquiry into the U.S. leader.

"This is a very simple, straightforward act".

The panel's Democratic chairman, Representative Adam Schiff, has been a target of the Republican president's attacks since the impeachment probe was launched in September after a whistleblower within the United States intelligence community brought a complaint against the Republican over his July 25 call with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy.

Republicans have sought to minimise Trump's role in the campaign to pressure Ukraine, and the list of potential witnesses they released Saturday suggests they will continue to do so. Rand Paul, R-Ky., argued that "it's unfair to treat Trump under one standard and Joe Biden under a different standard".

Mr Biden is a leading contender for the Democratic nomination to face the Republican president in the 2020 election.

As if to confirm those suspicions, Schiff's committee has turned a portion of its website into a glossy, political-campaign-style presentation of the case against Trump, titled: "Read for yourself: President Trump's Abuse of Power".

Several Democrats on Sunday pushed back against their GOP counterparts' request.

"The only thing that the whistleblower can say is that he was told by other people about the phone call", Speier said.

Speier argued that having Hunter Biden testify would also be "irrelevant" because he "is unrelated to the Ukraine call".

Democrats are likely to call further witnesses after this week.

According to Bloomberg, State Department lawyers had determined that the neither the president nor the Office of Management and Budget had authority to withhold the congressionally apportioned aid.

This is precisely why Republicans focus at least as much on the process of the inquiry as the substance.

Asked if any testimony would lead him to cast a vote in favor of removing Mr. Trump from office - a constitutional task for the Republican-controlled Senate - Kennedy said he would need to see and hear concrete evidence that demonstrates the president espoused a "culpable state of mind" and directly sought an investigation into a political opponent. The importance of process, Thornberry maintained, can not be ignored.

The comments by Schiff, one of the Democrats in charge of the inquiry, are the clearest yet that the whistleblower won't testify in the probe, a dramatic shift since the beginning of the impeachment inquiry in September when the individual's testimony was viewed as paramount.

"There's a reason we let murderers and robbers and rapists go free when their due process rights have been violated", Thornberry said.

Hurd said, however, he "would love to hear from Hunter Biden" and accused Democrats of running a "partisan exercise".

However, a transcript released by the White House of the call shows that Trump didn't mention any kind of quid pro quo.

'Adam Schiff therefore lied to Congress and attempted to defraud the American Public. RealClear reports that Ciaramella remained there into the Trump administration, and headed the Ukraine desk at the National Security Council, eventually transitioning into the West Wing, until June 2017.

Sen. Ron Johnson is a good exhibit of that.

"When you're going to provide hundreds of millions of taxpayer dollars into a system, you want to make sure it isn't corrupt. Nonetheless, I have offered to have my client respond in writing, under oath, and under penalty of perjury to Republican questions", Andrew Bakaj said in a statement to CNN.

Other reports by iNewsToday