- The Washington Times - Sunday, November 10, 2019

Rep. Eric Swalwell, California Democrat, defended Sunday the decision to reject the GOP’s request to call Hunter Biden and the “whistleblower” to testify at the impeachment hearings, saying that House Democrats must determine whether witnesses are “relevant.”

“It’s important that the Republicans be afforded the opportunity to suggest witnesses that we should call, and that we determine whether that is relevant,” Mr. Swalwell said on CBS’s “Face the Nation.”

“But it’s important that these witnesses raise their right hands and take questions from both Republicans and Democrats,” he added. “The president is going to get that.”

His comments came amid Republican outrage over House Intelligence Committee Adam Schiff’s rejection of two witnesses requested by the GOP, Hunter Biden and the “whistleblower,” ahead of Wednesday’s public hearing.

Mr. Swalwell said there was evidence that President Trump engaged in an “extortion scheme” to investigate former Vice President Joseph R. Biden, the frontrunner for the 2020 Democratic presidential nomination.

“We have evidence from the depositions that we’ve done to warrant bringing this forward, evidence of an extortion scheme using taxpayer dollars to ask a foreign government to investigate the president’s opponent,” Mr. Swalwell said.

At the same time, he defended the impeachment inquiry, which critics have blasted as a “show trial” over, for example, the decision to hold private hearings instead of open proceedings by the House Judiciary Committee, which led the Nixon and Clinton impeachment efforts.

“[T]his is America and we don’t just have railroading of justice,” said Mr. Swalwell. “These witnesses should come public and the American people should judge for themselves as well as we will as to what happened.”

Mr. Trump has denied demanding a quid pro quo from Ukraine after requesting an investigation into corruption and the Bidens in a July 25 phone call.

Hunter Biden was given a lucrative board position at a Ukraine gas company despite having no experience in the field at the same time his father was involved with Ukrainian relations for the Obama White House.

Republicans were outraged by Mr. Schiff’s refusal to permit testimony from Hunter Biden and the “whistleblower,” two of eight witnesses requested Saturday by ranking member Devin Nunes.

“The facts are just as important as the process behind the facts as far as what, if anything, goes over to the Senate,” Mr. Swalwell said.

• Valerie Richardson can be reached at vrichardson@washingtontimes.com.

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