Will Republicans get to call witnesses in House impeachment hearing?

Rep. Elise Stefanik, R-N.Y., front left, Rep. Jim Jordan, R-Ohio, right, and other Republican members of the House Intelligence Committee, speak to members of the media as they conclude the testimony of U.S. Ambassador to the European Union Gordon Sondland, during a public impeachment hearing of President Donald Trump's efforts to tie U.S. aid for Ukraine to investigations of his political opponents on Capitol Hill in Washington, Wednesday, Nov. 20, 2019. (AP Photo/Manuel Balce Ceneta)

There seems to be a media blackout on a breaking news story about the House Impeachment hearing.

At least it was breaking yesterday morning!

According to both Gateway Pundit and Breitbart, the Republicans on the House Intelligence Committee sent a letter to Adam Schiff on Thursday in which they invoked a rule of the House that allows them to call witnesses for one day. House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy posted the letter to Twitter, but the major media have totally ignored it.

Presumably no one believes that Adam Schiff will allow the GOP witnesses, but isn’t that news, too? I know that Schiff has a reputation for making up rules and laws — like anonymity for whistleblowers — but if he really does ignore the rules of the House, don’t the American people deserve to know that?

According to House Rule XI, Cause 2(j)(1) (The Minority Rule on calling witnesses), the minority may call any witnesses they want on at least one day of a congressional hearing, upon notifying the chairman. The minority members wrote to Schiff:

As the Committee continues to conduct the Democrats’ partisan and one-sided “impeachment inquiry,” there are still important perspectives and serious issues that you have prevented the Committee from examining. We will inform you of the witnesses we intend to call once you have provided a hearing date and time to which we agree. Your failure to schedule this hearing shall constitute evidence of your denied of fundamental fairness an due process.

The tricky part would be getting the witnesses they want to appear since presumably Schiff would still refuse to use the committee’s subpoena power to force appearances by Hunter Biden, Eric Ciaramella and Alexandra Chalupa, among others.

Still, there may be witnesses who can testify on behalf of the president who would appear willingly before the committee to dispute the “feelings” and “presumptions” of earlier witnesses.

In any case, my concern in writing about this story is that it illustrates perfectly the danger of having all information pass through the mainstream news gatekeepers. As I argued in my book “The Media Matrix,” the democratic republic is at a dangerous crossroads if we cannot rely on the news media for the straight story. “What if everything you know is fake?” I asked in that book, and in this case, what if you simply don’t know everything because the gatekeepers shut you out.

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2 Replies to “Will Republicans get to call witnesses in House impeachment hearing?”

  1. Frank: Thanks for your excellent coverage of the hearings over the past two weeks and defining the dramatic moments we’ll never see on Mainstream. As this year draws to a close, Bill and I agree that Heartland Diary, with its link to Real Clear Politics, made a huge, new difference in our lives, helping us to stay on the leading edge of all that is happening politically. As for your book, “Media Matrix”, there are no words to express just how much we enjoyed it as well as our current read, “Why We Needed Trump”. Thanks for all you do to help Conservatives and Independents stay on point.

    1. Thanks Nancy. I appreciate your kind words very much. Sometimes it feels overwhelming to try to stay atop of all the threats to our country, but I try to do my best because of people like you and Bill! As the saying goes, “Where we go one, we go all!”

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