Three days before the House Judiciary Committee is expected to invite witnesses to testify at a hearing on President Trump’s potential impeachment, their names are kept hidden not only from the White House, but even from the committee itself.
Committee Chairman Rep. Jerrold Nadler, D-N.Y., asked the White House if they would like to take part in Wednesday’s hearing and, until this Friday, gave Trump a statement as to whether he would take part in the investigation. Yet Nadler’s New York Democrat fellow and member of the committee Rep. Hakeem Jeffries revealed on Sunday that even he still doesn’t know who will testify.
“The committee hasn’t been provided with that information yet,” Jeffries told “Fox News Sunday.”
All that is known to date is that there will be four witnesses, they will be experts in constitutional law, and three will be selected by the Democratic majority and one by the Republican minority.
When asked why it couldn’t have been two witnesses on each side, Jeffries said, “Well that’s something to discuss,” but then moved on to discuss the Trump appointees who had previously testified before the House Intelligence Committee.
Earlier in the program, the House Judiciary Committee ranking member Rep. Doug Collins, R-Ga., called out Democrats for the time crunch they imposed on Republicans and the White House, along with a lack of information about the next phase of the impeachment. Collins claimed that Nadler did not give sufficient time to either Trump or Republicans to determine how to proceed. The report on the previous testimony by the Intelligence Committee has yet to be released, and Collins said it is not expected until Wednesday’s hearing on the night before or even the morning.
“Chairman Nadler sent us a letter asking for this document to be addressed by Friday and all the things we want to do,” he said. “However, we do not see the Schiff report, as it will be called, from committee until Tuesday night, probably Wednesday morning before we get to see it.” Jeffries indicated that he would be pleased to hear from any defense witness who could support Trump in battling charges that he had unfairly withheld Ukrainian military assistance in return for inquiries into former Vice Pre.
“If the president would like to come forward and present an actual witness who can provide some exculpatory information as to why the aid was withheld, we all would welcome that,” Jeffries said.
The House Democratic Caucus chairman, Jeffries, also pushed back on claims that his party was out to impeach Trump from the moment he took office. Despite attempts to investigate Trump on the basis of allegations that his campaign in 2016 was colluding with Russia, that Trump himself was trying to obstruct that investigation, and now the current allegations of Ukraine, Jeffries claimed that impeachment was not the goal of the Democrats on Day One.
“We’re here reluctantly because of the impeachment investigation we’re in right now,” he stated. “A president’s impeachment is not something we came to do in Congress.”