House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerold Nadler wants to see a slew of additional witnesses called during the Senate impeachment trial, just not Hunter Biden, son of former Vice President Joseph R. Biden.
“I’m saying that Hunter Biden has no knowledge of the accusations against the president,” Mr. Nadler, an impeachment manager, said Sunday on CBS’ “Face the Nation.” “Did the president, as we said, as the evidence shows that he did, betray his country by conspiring with a foreign country to rig the election? Hunter Biden has nothing to say about that.”
With the Trump impeachment trial slated to begin Tuesday, Democrats continue to press for testimony from figures such as former National Security Adviser John R. Bolton and Ukrainian-American businessman Lev Parnas, a scenario that opens the door for Republicans to call their own witnesses, including Hunter Biden.
Mr. Nadler argued that refusing to allow more witnesses would constitute a “cover-up” by Republicans, but that calling the son the elder Mr. Biden, a 2020 Democratic presidential front-runner, would represent a “smear.”
“Their asking for Hunter Biden is just more of a smear of Hunter Biden that the president is trying to get the Ukraine to do,” Mr. Nadler said.
The two articles of impeachment — abuse of power and obstruction of Congress — passed by the House stem from President Trump’s July 25 phone call in which he asked the Ukrainian president to investigate possible corruption involving the Bidens and also the 2016 U.S. election.
Mr. Nadler added that Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. would rule on the admissibility of certain evidence, although “the Senate can overrule him.”
“But no chief justice would think of admitting evidence that is not relevant. No trial judge would in any trial,” Mr. Nadler said.
He argued that Mr. Parnas, an associate of Trump personal attorney Rudolph W. Giuliani indicted on campaign-finance violations, “seems to be credible because everything he says corroborates everything we know.”
“I mean [Secretary of State] Mike Pompeo ought to testify. John Bolton ought to testify. What is the president hiding?” asked Mr. Nadler. “The president says don’t let these people testify. If they had exculpatory evidence, he would be saying let them testify.”
In a Jan. 6 op-ed for The Washington Post, George Washington University Law School professor Jonathan Turley said there was “no question” that Hunter Biden’s testimony would be relevant.
“If the Biden contract was an ongoing corrupt effort to secure influence and money from the United States, Trump’s reference to it in a discussion of corruption has a possible public purpose,” Mr. Turley said. “While one can certainly conclude that self-dealing by the president is a plausible explanation, there is no question that the testimony of Biden would be relevant.”