Schiff better tread carefully…
On Wednesday night, Sen. Lindsey Graham informed Sean Hannity of Fox News that he would be asking Rep. Adam Schiff to testify in the Senate if President Donald Trump was impeached by the House.
Graham said that he could not permit President Donald Trump to be charged in the Senate on evidence from hearsay and without the “whistleblower” testimony.
Graham spoke in the House Intelligence Committee after the conclusion of the first day of public hearings as part of an “impeachment inquiry” approved by Democrats in a House resolution introduced on October 31.
Following the testimony of the first two witnesses, Democrats on the committee voted unanimously to table a motion the Republicans made to call the “whistleblower “— who admitted that he did not have first-hand knowledge — to testify.
Republicans — particularly Rep. Mike Turner — noted that neither of the two witnesses should qualify to testify, as they had only “hearsay” evidence.
Graham, as chair of the Senate Judiciary Committee and a former impeachment manager during former President Bill Clinton’s trial, would have significant influence over most of the procedural rules that would be adopted by the Senate for Trump’s trial if the House were to impeach the President.
He announced that, based on hearsay alone, he would close any case against the president, implying the potential of a dismissal motion. “Any resolution setting up a trial in the Senate — I’m going to make sure that hearsay cannot be the basis of an impeachment investigation,” he said.
“If you excluded hearsay, like every other court in the land, there’s nothing there,” he continued. “If you invoked the hearsay rule, what would be left?” He described impeachment based on hearsay as “a threat to the presidency itself.”
Graham also said that the “whistleblower” would need to testify.
“Any trial in the Senate must expose the whistleblower so the president can confront his accuser. I will not accept a trial in the Senate until I know who the whistleblower is,” he said.
Graham said that Congress would need to answer concerns about the possible motives of the whistleblower — and whether he played a role in the conflict of former Vice President Joe Biden over the board position of his son Hunter in a crooked Ukrainian business, Burisma. Biden threatened to block $1 billion in U.S. aid if Ukraine did not fire a prosecutor who was, overseeing a corporate corruption investigation.
Some media reports have said that the whistleblower might have worked for Biden while Obama was still in office.
Graham has promised to call Rep. Adam Schiff, the Chair of the House Intelligence Committee, to testify. Normally, he said, as a matter of mere discipline, he would not ask a member of the House to appear, but an impeachment trial was a unique case.
“One of the witnesses will be Adam Schiff because if he, in fact, did meet with the whistleblower, and coached the guy up, I think that’s relevant to the impeachment inquiry itself,” Graham said.
Schiff rejected seeing the informant at the hearing on Wednesday, and also denied knowing the name of the whistleblower, however, he was not under oath.