Rep. Devin Nunes (R-Calif.), the ranking member on the House Intelligence Committee has formally requested that Rep. Adam Schiff (D-Calif), chairman of the committee, testify behind closed doors as part of the House’s impeachment investigation into President Donald Trump.
In the letter obtained and released by Fox News on Friday, Nov. 8, Nunes called on Schiff to testify before the three House Committees ahead of the “public show trial” taking place next week.
“On November 6th, you announced the beginning of public hearings associated with the Democratic Party’s partisan impeachment inquiry into President Donald J. Trump,” Nunes wrote. “Based on the precedent and lack of jurisdiction, the House Intelligence Committee should not take the lead in conducting such hearings; however, by now the American people know your desire to see the duly elected president removed from office outweighs your sense of responsibility to running a functioning intelligence oversight committee.”
“Prior to the start of your public show trial next week, at least one additional closed-door deposition must take place,” he added. “Specifically, I request that you sit for a closed-door deposition before the House Intelligence, Foreign Affairs and Oversight Committees.”
Three House committees are pursuing the impeachment inquiry based on a whistleblower complaint alleging that President Donald Trump forced the Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelenskiy to investigate former Vice President Joe Biden and his son as the military aid to the country was being withheld.
Given the early contact between Schiff’s office and the whistleblower and Schiff’s promise to allow the individual to testify in private to Congress as part of the impeachment investigation in September and then walking back his decision, Nunes said, “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.”
“As you know, the House Intelligence Committee has precedent for such an arrangement. During the committee’s investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election, sitting members of Congress agreed to participate in closed-door depositions. Given your championing of such an arrangement two years ago, you should have no problem with you appearing before the three committees to discuss your interactions with the whistleblower,” he added.
Last week, House Judiciary Committee Ranking Member Doug Collins (R-Ga.) publicly challenged Schiff to testify before the judiciary committee after the passage of the impeachment rules resolution.
“Here’s my challenge to Mr. Schiff. You want to be Ken Starr? Be Ken Starr. Come to the Judiciary Committee, be the first witness and take every question asked of you. Starting with your own involvement with the whistleblower,” Collins said.
Schiff denied any personal contact with the whistleblower and said such whistleblower testimony was no longer necessary. He announced Wednesday that the first public hearings as part of the inquiry would be held next week.
House Oversight Committee Ranking Member Jim Jordan (R-Ohio.) has been assigned by Republican leadership to serve on the House Intelligence Committee so he can participate in questioning in the open impeachment hearings.
“I want to help the country see the truth here, that President Trump didn’t do anything wrong. And what the Democrats are doing is partisan, it’s unfair and frankly, it’s ridiculous,” Jordan said.