Rep. Adam B. Schiff, the lead House impeachment manager, said calling Hunter Biden as a witness would be an “abuse” of President Trump’s impeachment trial.
Mr. Schiff, California Democrat, said it would be “fair” for the president and his team to be able to call witnesses that can provide material information on the charges Mr. Trump is facing.
“It would not be appropriate for the president to seek to call witnesses merely to try to perpetuate [the] same smear campaign that was foiled when his plot was discovered,” Mr. Schiff said in an interview for the “CBS Evening News with Norah O’Donnell,” a portion of which aired Tuesday morning.
“Hunter Biden, for example, can’t tell us anything about whether the president withheld military aid, whether he withheld that aid to coerce Ukraine to conduct political investigations, or why he wouldn’t meet with the President of Ukraine,” Mr. Schiff said.
He said the only reason to include Hunter Biden on a witness list is to trade “material” witnesses, such as former National Security Adviser John R. Bolton and acting White House Chief of Staff Mick Mulvaney, for “immaterial ones that will allow them to continue to attack a political opponent.”
“That’s an illegitimate abuse of the trial. And the chief justice, who may have an opportunity to rule on materiality of witnesses, as well as the senators, should not permit that kind of abuse,” he said.
Senators are expected to vote on rules for the impeachment trial Tuesday afternoon.
Under a proposed resolution from Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, a debate on potential witnesses could take place after both sides get to present their cases and ask questions.
Hunter Biden, who held a lucrative seat on the board of a Ukrainian energy company while his father Joseph R. Biden was vice president, is at the heart of charges of abuse of power and obstruction of Congress that Mr. Trump is facing.
The president stands accused of improperly withholding military aid to Ukraine unless the country agreed to open up investigations, including into the Bidens and Hunter Biden’s business dealings in the country. Mr. Trump has denied any wrongdoing.
Mr. Biden, the former vice president, is a top contender for the 2020 Democratic presidential nomination.