Republican breaks with Trump, insists whistleblower remain anonymous

Timothy Egan How the insufferably woke help Trump

Therefore, "Republicans are unlikely to get most, if any, of their desired witnesses".

"Crickets", said Mark Zaid, an attorney for the whistleblower.

House GOP members have criticized these procedures - for example, in his letter on Saturday, Nunes said the "Democrats' resolution unfairly restricts Minority rights". The committee had engaged in a round of private talks to protect the whistleblower while allowing him or her to provide testimony, including disguising the individual's identity or conducting the interview off-site.

A whistleblower complaint in September brought into attention a telephone conversation between Trump and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky in which Trump asked for a "favour".

In addition to Hunter Biden, the Republicans said they also want to hear from Biden's business partner, Devon Archer, who served with Biden on the board of Burisma, a Ukrainian natural gas company.

The release of Trump's other call with Zelensky ahead of the inquiry's first public hearing seems unlikely to have a major impact, as witnesses have described that call as friendly and noncontroversial, according to transcripts.

But when it was revealed that Schiff and his staff had secretly coordinated with the whistleblower and urged him to file a formal complaint against Trump, Schiff and his media allies immediately changed course, declaring it would be risky and unprecedented for the complainant to testify publicly. "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".

Whistleblower Q&A Offer Still Awaiting An Official 'No' From Republicans
Rand Paul (R-KY) and Lindsey Graham (R-SC), have called on Democrats to reveal the Ukrainian whistleblower's identity. Will Hurd, R-Texas, said the impeachment inquiry "has been a partisan exercise from the very beginning".

The whistleblower alleged that Trump sought investigations into the Bidens in return for granting Zelenskiy an Oval Office visit and allowing the delivery of almost $400 million in security aid needed by Ukraine to defend against Russia-backed separatists.

Schiff was visibly displeased with the initiative as he said that it is the House Republicans seek to turn the process into "sham investigation" - this time against his fellow Democrats - Bidens. Himes said the very language of the phrase can be confusing, when he thought it should be simple to communicate "that the president acted criminally and extorted in the way a mob boss would extort somebody".

Democrats must approve any requests submitted by Republicans and they are expected to reject the requests for Hunter Biden and the whistleblower to appear.

In denying the GOP witness list, Schiff will point to parameters he laid out earlier this week limiting the scope of the public hearings to Trump's actions related to Ukraine. Texas Republican Rep. Will Hurd, who previously worked as an undercover officer with the Central Intelligence Agency, said on Fox News Sunday that unmasking the whistleblower could have a chilling effect on would-be whistleblowers.

Senate Judiciary Chairman Lindsey Graham insisted Sunday that the impeachment inquiry is "invalid" without testimony from the whistleblower and a "complete joke" without comments from Hunter Biden. On Saturday, the chairman said the impeachment inquiry will not be used to undertake investigations into the Bidens or the 2016 election.

Mr Schiff has said three witnesses will testify next week: US diplomat Bill Taylor and State Department official George Kent will appear on Wednesday, and former US Ambassador to Ukraine Marie Yovanovitch is set to testify Friday.

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