A Democrat on the House Intelligence Committee defended the Democrats’ strategy in the impeachment inquiry and responded on Sunday to the Republican witness requests in an interview on ABC’s “This Week.”
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“This is a very simple, straightforward act. The president broke the law,” said Rep. Jackie Speier of California. “He went on a telephone call with the President of Ukraine and said ‘I have a favor though’ and then proceeded to ask for an investigation of his rival. This is a very strong case of bribery.”
The constitution is very clear, treason, bribery or acts of omission,” she added. “And in this case it’s clearly one of those.”
Ranking member of the House Armed Services Committee, Rep. Mac Thornberry, R-Texas, criticized the inquiry for being partisan, in response to Speier during a separate interview on “This Week.”
“I think whatever happens now, there will be a taint to this one-sided partisan approach to impeachment, that is different that has been used before, and so I think there will be intense skepticism about whatever they come up with,” he said.
When “This Week” co-anchor Martha Raddatz pressed Thornberry on the substance of the allegations at the center of the impeachment inquiry versus the process, Thornberry said, “I believe that it is inappropriate for a president to ask a foreign leader to investigate a political rival.”
He added, however, “I do not believe it was impeachable.”
Public hearings in the impeachment inquiry begin on Wednesday, with testimony from Ambassador Bill Taylor and Deputy Assistant Secretary of State George Kent scheduled.
Former U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine Marie Yovanovitch is expected to testify Friday.
House Republicans released their request for witnesses on Saturday, including Hunter Biden, the son of former Vice President Joe Biden, an individual referred to as “the anonymous whistleblower,” senior diplomat Kurt Volker, Tim Morrison, the senior director for Europe and Russia on the White House National Security Council, and Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs David Hale.
House Intelligence Committee Chairman Rep. Adam Schiff responded to Republicans in a letter saying that the committee was evaluating the witness list, but said that the impeachment inquiry would not “serve as vehicles for any Member to carry out the same sham investigations into the Bidens or debunked conspiracies about the 2016 U.S. election interference that President Trump pressed Ukraine to conduct for his personal political benefit.”
He also called the original whistleblower’s testimony “redundant and unnecessary” and said that an appearance would put the whistleblower’s personal safety at risk.
ABC News’ Katherine Faulders and Trish Turner contributed to this report.
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