EXCLUSIVE: House Republicans plan to call Hunter Biden, the Ukraine whistleblower and a range of other witnesses to testify in the upcoming public Trump impeachment hearings, according to a witness list obtained exclusively by Fox News.
It is unclear, at this point, how many of the Republicans’ proposed witnesses will be approved by House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff and the Democrats, because the newly-approved resolution governing the impeachment inquiry give the approval power to the chairman and the members of the majority.
“Americans see through this sham impeachment process, despite the Democrats’ efforts to retroactively legitimize it last week,” House Intelligence Committee Ranking Member Devin Nunes wrote in a letter to Schiff on Saturday, referencing the impeachment rules.
“To provide transparency to your otherwise opaque and unfair process, and after consultation with [House Oversight Committee] Ranking Member Jim Jordan and [House Foreign Affairs Committee] Ranking Member Michael McCaul, the American people deserve to hear from the following witnesses in an open setting,” he continued.
At the top of Republicans’ list is former Vice President Joe Biden’s son, Hunter, who has emerged as a central figure in the Ukraine controversy due to his business dealings.
The impeachment inquiry began when a whistleblower reported that Trump had pushed Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky to launch an investigation into the Biden family’s dealings in Ukraine—specifically, why former Vice President Joe Biden pressured former Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko to fire a top prosecutor, Viktor Shokin, who was investigating Ukrainian natural gas firm Burisma Holdings, where Hunter held a lucrative role on the board, bringing in a reported $50,000 per month.
Republicans noted that in testimony from former State Department official George Kent both raised concerns about “the appearance of a conflict of interest stemming from Mr. Biden’s position on Burisma’s board,” and added that former U.S. ambassador to Ukraine Marie Yovanovich was prepared by the Obama State Department to address questions about Mr. Biden’s position on Burisma during her Senate confirmation process.
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At the time, the former vice president was running U.S.-Ukraine policy under former President Barack Obama.
Republicans also plan to call the younger Biden’s former long-time business partner, Devon Archer, who also sat on the board of Burisma. Republicans claim Archer can help the public to understand “the nature and extent of Ukraine’s pervasive corruption information that bears directly on President Trump’s longstanding and deeply-held skepticism of the country.”
Fox News has also learned that Republicans plan to call the whistleblower—whose identity remains anonymous—to testify publicly as part of the inquiry. House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff, D-Calif., said in September the whistleblower would appear before Congress “very soon,” but in recent weeks has suggested that testimony is unnecessary.
“Because President Trump should be afforded an opportunity to confront his accusers, the anonymous whistleblower should testify,” Nunes wrote. “Moreover, given the multiple discrepancies between the whistleblower’s complaint and the closed-door testimony of the witnesses, it is imperative that the American people hear definitively how the whistleblower developed his or her information, and who else the whistleblower may have fed the information he or she gathered and how that treatment of classified information may have led to the false narrative being perpetrated by the Democrats during this process.”
Republicans are also requesting that the “more than half a dozen sources” the whistleblower cited in their complaint to the Intelligence Community Inspector General, whose identities also remain anonymous, attend for a public deposition.
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In addition, Republicans also are expected to call Alexandra Chalupa as a witness. Chalupa was a Ukrainian-American consultant for the Democratic National Committee who allegedly had meetings with officials at the Ukrainian Embassy in Washington, D.C. to discuss incriminating information about Trump campaign officials during the 2016 presidential election.
Chalupa was first brought into the conversation in January 2017, after Politico published a report exposing her as a DNC operative, who worked in the Clinton White House and met with officials in the Ukrainian Embassy in an effort to expose ties between former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort and Russia.
“Given President Trump’s documented belief that the Ukrainian government meddled in the 2016 election to oppose his candidacy, which forms the basis for a reasonable desire for Ukraine to investigate the circumstances surrounding the election and any potential Ukrainian involvement, Ms. Chalupa is a prime fact witness who can assist Congress and the American public in better understanding the facts and circumstances surrounding Ukrainian involvement in the 2016 election,” Nunes wrote.
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Also included in the list obtained by Fox News is Nellie Ohr—a researcher at opposition research firm Fusion GPS, which commissioned the now–infamous anti-Trump dossier, and was paid for by the Clinton campaign and the Democratic National Committee through law firm Perkins Coie. Ohr and her husband, DOJ official Bruce Ohr, were critical figures in Republicans’ efforts to investigate the origin of the Russia probe. Republicans are calling Nellie Ohr to testify because in October 2018, she told congressional investigators that Fusion GPS was getting information from Ukrainian sources.
“In a 2018 interview with the House Judiciary and Oversight Committees, Ms. Ohr stated that, during her work with Fusion GPS that ultimately assisted in the production of the Steele Dossier—comprising false allegations against then-candidate Trump—Fusion GPS used information from sources in Ukraine, including Serhiy Leshchenko who recently lost his post from the Ukrainian parliament,” Nunes wrote, noting that Ohr is a “prime fact witness.”
Nunes, in his letter, said that he and Republicans “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.”
“Because the Democrats’ resolution unfairly restricts Minority rights and because you have provided no information about which witnesses you may invite to testify at future hearings not yet scheduled, we reserve our right to request additional witnesses, if necessary, as you announce additional hearings,” he added. “Your failure to fulfill Minority witness requests shall constitute evidence of your denial of fundamental fairness and due process.”
Meanwhile, Republicans will also call several officials that Democrats on the impeachment committees have already received testimony from—including ex-National Security Council official Tim Morrison, former Ukraine envoy Kurt Volker, and high-ranking State Department official David Hale.
The House approved formal rules for the impeachment inquiry process last week. While Republicans opposed the resolution and complained the rules were unfair, they still gave minority Republicans the ability to subpoena witnesses, with the concurrence of Democratic committee chairs. If the chair does not consent, the minority can appeal to the full committee.
This process still gives Democrats final say over witnesses.
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Schiff, who is leading much of the impeachment inquiry, announced Wednesday that his committee would hold its first open hearings next week, featuring current and former officials with knowledge of the Ukraine controversy.
“Next week, the House Intelligence Committee will hold its first open hearings as part of the impeachment inquiry,” Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff, D-Calif., tweeted Wednesday.
“On Wednesday, November 13, 2019, we will hear from William Taylor and George Kent,” Schiff continued. “On Friday, November 15, 2019, we will hear from Marie Yovanovitch.”
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Meanwhile, House Intelligence Committee Ranking Member Devin Nunes, R-Calif., penned a letter to Schiff late Friday, demanding the chairman appear for a deposition behind closed doors ahead of the public hearings next week to testify on his contacts with the whistleblower.