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Schiff Concerned Republicans Will Call Witnesses Just To ‘Smear’ Trump’s Opponents


Imagine you’re on trial. Prosecutors can call any witness they choose — and they can also reject any witness you want to call.

Sound insane? That’s exactly the process Democrats have set up for the impeachment inquiry into President Trump.

House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff (D-CA) said Thursday that Democrats could refuse to allow Republicans to call some witnesses to testify, saying the GOP might “propose a bunch of witnesses that have no bearing, that they can use merely to smear the president’s opponents or for other improper purposes.”

On “CBS Evening News,”  Norah O’Donnell asked Schiff, “Republicans say they’re concerned that the Democrats will block the witnesses that they want to hear from. Can you assure them that you won’t reject those witnesses?”

“Well, we’ve asked them for proffer of which witnesses they think are relevant, and I have to say, we have concerns that they’re going to propose a bunch of witnesses that have no bearing, that they can use merely to smear the president’s opponents or for other improper purposes,” Schiff said.

“It’s important to note that, to the contrary of what they have been saying, in both Clinton and the Nixon impeachments, the minority did not have the right to call witnesses on their own unilaterally. They could call for a vote, but it was a majority vote, that they were not assured of winning. So, we would love to hear who they’re interested in having come before the committee.

“But given the kind of circus-like tactics, the storming of the SCIF and all the stunts the president puts them up to, we can’t surrender the process to the minority party,” Schiff said, referring to last week when Republicans descended on a “Sensitive Compartmented Information Facility” used for viewing secure documents and interviewing key witnesses.

House Minority Whip Steve Scalise (R-LA) ripped Schiff on Wednesday for shutting down questions from House Republicans during an impeachment inquiry hearing, calling it “a Soviet-style process.”

“That might be what they do in the Soviet Union, not the United States of America. We can’t stand for this, the American people are being denied equal justice,” Scalise said.

Scalise said the the resolution passed by a partisan vote in the House does allows Republicans to present subpoenas and call witnesses, they can only call ones that are “authorized” by Schiff.

“Adam Schiff, among many things, has been trying to claim that this is a fair process by saying that Republicans are allowed to ask questions,” Scalise told reporters.  “Now he gets to choose all the witnesses, and him and himself only, which means it’s not a fair process on the face. But even his claim now, that Republicans can ask questions, has been undermined, because now he’s directing witnesses not to answer questions that he doesn’t want the witness to answer, if they’re asked by Republicans.

“He’s not cut off one Democrat, he’s not interrupted one Democrat and told a witness not to answer Democrat members’ questions, but today he started telling the witness not to answer questions by certain Republicans. That reeks,” he said.

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