Law & the Courts

Judiciary Dems Block Republican Request for Adam Schiff to Testify During Impeachment Hearings

U.S. House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff (D-CA) looks on during the House impeachment inquiry hearings, in Washington, D.C., November 20, 2019. (Doug Mills/Reuters)

House Democrats quickly shut down Republicans’s request during the first Judiciary Committee impeachment hearing on Wednesday to have House Intelligence Committee chairman Adam Schiff testify.

Representative Doug Collins of Georgia, the ranking Republican, motioned to “require the attendance of chairman Schiff before this committee and translate this letter accordingly,” a request that was immediately tabled before Collins asked for a recorded vote.

The committee voted along party lines to table the motion to require Schiff’s testimony, one of Democrats’s prerogatives under the resolution passed in October that set up procedures for the impeachment process against President Trump.

Collins said over the weekend that Schiff is his “first and foremost witness,” explaining that the chairman has assumed a role similar to that of a special counsel and should testify to Congress on impeachment as other special counsels have done.

“He’s compared himself in the past to a special counsel,” Collins said of Schiff on Sunday. “Well, if we go back to Clinton, and even back to Nixon, but in Clinton, Ken Starr was the special counsel. He presented a report that we’re going to get as Judiciary. He came and sat and testified under oath and took questions from all sides including the White House.”

“Adam Schiff has been the author of many things, a lot of them found to be false over the past couple years, but he’s going to be the author of this report,” the Georgia Republican added, referring to the Intelligence Committee’s impeachment report released Tuesday that found Trump endangered national security by placing his political interests over those of the U.S.

Trump and his congressional allies are battling the accusation that he engaged in a quid pro quo scheme involving the provision of U.S. military aid to Ukraine in exchange for Ukraine’s public agreement to investigate Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden.

Wednesday’s impeachment hearing will feature testimony from four constitutional law professors, three of whom were called by Democrats. The Judiciary Committee is responsible for drafting articles of impeachment that would be voted on by the full House.

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