Schiff Rejects GOP Calls for Hunter Biden to Testify, Says Impeachment Inquiry Won't Probe 'Sham' Claims

Democratic Congressman Adam Schiff, chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, rebuked House Republicans' calls for former Vice President Joe Biden's son, Hunter Biden, to testify in the public impeachment inquiry starting next week and confirmed that the proceedings will not probe "sham" Biden claims.

Current ranking member Republican Congressman Devin Nunes, in a letter to Schiff on Saturday, asked for Biden, the anonymous whistleblower and several others to testify as part of the impeachment probe, which will move from closed-door depositions to public hearings next week.

In response, Schiff confirmed that Biden will not be testifying but agreed to review the rest of the Republicans' list. "This inquiry is not and will not serve as a vehicle to undertake the same sham investigations into the Bidens or 2016 that the President pressed Ukraine to conduct for his personal political benefit," the top Democrat said, according to The Washington Post, "or facilitate the President's effort to threaten, intimidate, and retaliate against the whistleblower who courageously raised the initial alarm."

"The Committee is evaluating the Minority's witness requests and will give due consideration to witnesses within the scope of the impeachment inquiry, as voted on by the House," Schiff added. "As we move into the open hearing phase of the inquiry, the Committee is mindful that we are engaged in a sober endeavor rooted in the Constitution to determine whether the President of the United States engaged in misconduct that warrants impeachment by the House."

In addition to Biden and the whistleblower, House Republicans also asked for several other testimonies in an open settling, including from Devon Archer, an American businessman who served with Biden on the board of Burisma Holdings; Nellie Ohr, former contractor for opposition research firm Fusion GPS; and David Jale, Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs.

"We expect that you will call each of the witnesses listed above to ensure that the Democrats' 'impeachment inquiry' treats the President with fairness, as promised by Speaker Pelosi," Nunes wrote in the letter. "Your failure to fulfill Minority witness requests shall constitute evidence of your denial of fundamental fairness and due process."

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi launched an impeachment inquiry into Donald Trump in late September after reports began emerging that a whistleblower filed a formal complaint over concerns that the president had asked Ukrainian leader Volodymyr Zelenskiy to probe his domestic political 2020 rival during a July phone call. A partial transcription of their conversation, released by the White House, confirmed that Trump did ask his foreign counterpart to investigate the Bidens. However, the president has repeatedly denied committing any wrongdoing and said there was no quid pro quo.

Adam Schiff
Representative Adam Schiff, Democrat of California and Chairman of the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence, speaks to the media on Capitol Hill in Washington, DC, October 17, 2019. Saul Loeb/Getty