House Intelligence Committee Ranking Member Devin Nunes (R-CA) on Friday sent a letter to Rep. Adam Schiff (D-CA) requesting that the House Intelligence Committee chairman testify as part of the impeachment inquiry.
In the letter, Nunes argued that Schiff should testify in lieu of the “whistleblower,” since the “whistleblower” went to Schiff’s staff before filing his complaint and since Schiff will not let the whistleblower testify.
In his letter to Schiff, Nunes wrote:
As the American public is now aware, in August 2019, you and/or your staff met with or talked to the whistleblower who raised an issue with President Trump’s phone call with Ukrainian President Zelensky. Although you claim that nothing inappropriate was discussed, the three committees deserve to hear directly from you the substance and circumstances surrounding any discussions conducted with the whistleblower, and any instructions you issued regarding those discussions.
Nunes noted that there is precedent: Members of Congress participated for closed-door depositions during the House Intelligence Committee’s investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election.
He added: “Given your championing of such an arrangement two years ago, you should have no problem with you appearing before the three committees to discuss your interaction with the whistleblower.”
The New York Times reported on October 2 that the “whistleblower” went to Schiff’s staff with his concerns about Trump’s phone call, and the “outlines” of those concerns were passed on to Schiff. The report said the “whistleblower” was instructed by staff to seek legal representation and file a whistleblower complaint with the intelligence community inspector general.
Schiff had initially denied that the “whistleblower” had ever spoken to him or his committee before he filed the complaint, and after the Times report, his staff was forced to walk back that assertion, saying that Schiff meant that he did not personally meet the “whistleblower” and that his staff did not officially interview the “whistleblower.”
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) put Schiff in charge of leading the impeachment inquiry for the House Democrats, after House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerry Nadler (D-NY) failed to make progress towards impeachment.
Nunes’s letter also noted that the House Intelligence Committee should not be taking the lead on the impeachment inquiry based on precedent and lack of jurisdiction over the complaint.
“However, by now the American people know your desire to see the duly-elected president removed from office outweighs your sense of responsibility to running a functioning intelligence oversight committee,” Nunes wrote.