Senate Minority Leader Charles E. Schumer on Monday said that calling Hunter Biden as a witness in a future Senate impeachment trial would be a “distraction,” as he makes the case to hear from other additional witnesses who didn’t testify in the House proceedings.
“I think we should focus on having a fair trial,” Mr. Schumer, New York Democrat, said on CNN’s “New Day.” “Hunter Biden doesn’t add to that.”
In a letter to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell on Sunday, Mr. Schumer called for subpoenas to be issued to secure testimony from acting White House Chief of Staff Mick Mulvaney, his senior adviser Robert Blair, former National Security Adviser John R. Bolton, and Michael Duffey, associate director for national security in the White House budget office.
The House had asked for the testimony of those four individuals in its impeachment inquiry, but they did not appear.
“I’m not going to negotiate here in public, but the bottom line is I haven’t seen a scintilla of evidence that Hunter Biden would add anything other than show, circus, distraction,” Mr. Schumer said. “If President Trump is so certain that he did nothing wrong, what is he afraid of?”
Hunter Biden, the son of former Vice President Joseph R. Biden, is at the center of the House’s impeachment inquiry, having held a lucrative seat on the board of a Ukrainian energy company called Burisma Holdings.
House Democrats have accused Mr. Trump of improperly withholding military aid to Ukraine in exchange for the country’s announcing investigations, including into the Bidens’ business dealings in the country.
The House is preparing to vote on two articles of impeachment this week, for abuse of power and obstruction of Congress.
Mr. Schumer had opposed hearing from new witnesses during the impeachment of President Bill Clinton, but he said things were different then.
“The Republicans could not negotiate a fair bunch of witnesses with the Democrats,” he said. “It wasn’t a bipartisan negotiation. It should be now.”
Mr. McConnell’s office said that he still plans to sit down with Mr. Schumer to hammer out the contours of a potential trial.