The Slatest

Schiff Says Whistleblower Testimony Would Be “Redundant and Unnecessary”

House Intelligence Committee chairman Adam Schiff arrives to speak to the press during a closed hearing as part of the impeachment inquiry at the U.S. Capitol in Washington, D.C. on November 6, 2019.
House Intelligence Committee chairman Adam Schiff arrives to speak to the press during a closed hearing as part of the impeachment inquiry at the U.S. Capitol in Washington, D.C. on November 6, 2019.
NICHOLAS KAMM/Getty Images

House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff all but rejected the call by Republicans to have the Ukraine whistleblower testify in the impeachment inquiry, saying that his testimony would be “redundant and unnecessary.” House Republicans submitted a list of witness requests on Saturday and it didn’t take long for Schiff to make clear that the Ukraine whistleblower wouldn’t even be considered.

“The impeachment inquiry, moreover, has gathered an ever-growing body of evidence—from witnesses and documents, including the President’s own words in his July 25 call record—that not only confirms, but far exceeds, the initial information in the whistleblower’s complaint,” Schiff said in the letter. “The whistleblower’s testimony is therefore redundant and unnecessary.” Schiff also said that having the whistleblower appear publicly “would only place their personal safety at grave risk” because of the president’s threats against him.

The attorney for the whistleblower also rejected the idea of an in-person testimony by his client but said the offer to answer written questions still stands. “My client’s complaint has been largely corroborated. Nonetheless, I have offered to have my client respond in writing, under oath, and under penalty of perjury to Republican questions,” Andrew Bakaj said in a statement. Bakaj expressed concern that “this is part of a larger effort to unmask my client’s identity.”

Schiff also appeared to rebuff the request by Republicans to have Hunter Biden testify in public and implied that would also be the case for all the other witness requests that appear designed to push an unproven conspiracy theory that Ukraine tried to interfere in the 2016 presidential election. “This inquiry is not and will not serve, however, 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, or facilitate the President’s effort to threaten, intimidate, and retaliate against the whistleblower who courageously raised the initial alarm,” Schiff wrote.