Republican Senator Lindsay Graham of SC, a vocal Trump ally, called the Democratic impeachment inquiry a "complete joke" because the whistle-blower has not been identified and subjected to cross-examination.
In advance of the public hearings, Rep. Adam Schiff (D-Burbank), who is spearheading the impeachment inquiry, has not yet finalized the witness list. "It's an important checks and balance not only in the Intelligence Committee, but in our government", Rep. Hurd said.
Graham explained that it would be "stunning" if the "whistleblower comes from the Brennan world", referring to John Brennan, the Central Intelligence Agency director in the Obama administration, or if the whistleblower has "a connection to a Democratic candidate".More news: 'Wheel' Host Pat Sajak Has Emergency Surgery
As the impeachment inquiry against President Trump moves into a public phase this week, leading Democrats - joined by at least one GOP lawmaker - on Sunday rejected Republican demands for public testimony by the whistleblower whose complaint set the process in motion. An anonymous whistleblower claimed earlier this year that multiple White House officials grew concerned that the president in July illegally leaned on the president of Ukraine, using military aid as leverage, to secure help in the 2020 election.
While continuing to attack the inquiry process as tainted, Republicans signaled with Saturday's proposed witness list that they meant to try to turn the spotlight away from accusations that the president abused his power for political ends and instead would seek to discredit US intelligence findings, reaffirmed by special counsel Robert S. Mueller III, that Russian Federation interfered with the 2016 election with the aim of aiding Trump.
Texas Republican Rep. Will Hurd, who previously worked as an undercover officer with the Central Intelligence Agency, said on Fox News Sunday that unmasking the whistleblower could have a chilling effect on would-be whistleblowers.
"That's their impression", Johnson said of the officials who painted a picture of Trump improperly pressing Zelensky to go after the Bidens. He called it "a first in due process and Congressional history!" "So I don't think you can sweep under the rug". He said the committee already has enough "evidence of an extortion scheme", but it's important for witnesses to answer questions from members of both parties.More news: CT university mourns death of gymnast in training accident
In a Saturday statement, the California Democrat said he would refuse to allow the public committee hearings, which begin Wednesday, to be used to pursue "sham investigations into the Bidens".
This week's public hearings will start Wednesday with testimony from two diplomats: William Taylor, the acting US ambassador to Ukraine, and George Kent, the deputy assistant Secretary of State for European and Eurasian affairs.
"Shifty Adam Schiff will only release doctored transcripts", Trump tweeted Monday morning. He is scheduled to testify Wednesday along with State Department official George Kent. On Friday, the committee will hear from former U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine Marie Yovanovitch.
-With assistance from Christopher Condon.More news: Vietnam deer rediscovered after nearly 30 years, Europe News & Top Stories