By Vandana Rambaran
Published December 05, 2019
Rep. Doug Collins, R-Ga., the ranking member of the House Judiciary Committee, along with all his Republican colleagues, demanded that Chairman Jerrold Nadler, D-N.Y., schedule a "minority day of hearings" to afford their party the opportunity to call their own witnesses to testify in President Trump's impeachment inquiry, according to a letter sent to the chairman's office Thursday.
During the first day of public hearings from the committee on Wednesday, Collins and Rep. Jim Sensenbrenner from Wisconsin goaded Nadler to provide details on when he planned on scheduling the requested hearing, and what his specific next steps were in the impeachment proceedings. But they were promptly shut down, as Nadler refused to recognize them during the hearings.
Collins' letter cited a rarely exercised privilege, stating that "Minority Members 'shall be entitled to ... call witnesses selected by the minority to testify with respect to that measure or matter during at least one day of hearing thereon.'”
It is unclear who specifically Republicans plan on calling as a witness, although several have floated the idea of House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff, D-Calif., being called, after his committee released a report on the impeachment inquiry Tuesday that concluded Trump withheld nearly $391 million in military aid from Ukraine, conditioning its delivery -- as well as a White House visit with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky -- on a public announcement that Zelensky was conducting investigations into 2020 Democrat Joe Biden and his son Hunter. It also accuses Trump of obstruction for instructing witnesses not to comply with congressional subpoenas, as well as witness intimidation.
"Mr. Schiff should testify. Chairman Schiff, not his staff, must appear before this committee to answer questions about the content of his report," Collins said Wednesday.
The president has ordered several key witnesses to the impeachment probe, including Acting White House Chief of Staff Mick Mulvaney and the president’s personal lawyer Rudy Giuliani, not to testify.
"The requested minority hearing day must take place before articles of impeachment are considered by the Committee," the letter said.