This article appeared online at TheNewAmerican.com on Monday, November 11, 2019:
Devin Nunes (R-Calif.), the ranking minority member of the House Intelligence Committee, which he chaired before the Democrats took it over in 2018, sent a fiery letter to Chairman Adam Schiff on Saturday. He called out Schiff’s efforts to stack the deck in his so-called impeachment investigation of the president, and demanded that the roster of witnesses to be called before the committee be expanded.
Nunes attacked Schiff, reviewing his purposeful machinations to damage the president:
During the Committee’s last open hearing, you fabricated evidence out of thin air to portray President Trump’s telephone conversation with President Zelensky in a sinister light. During your closed-door proceedings, you offered no due process protections for the President. You directed witnesses called by the Democrats not to answer Republican questions. You withheld deposition manuscripts from Republican Members. You selectively leaked cherry-picked information to paint misleading public narratives about the facts.
You misled the American people about your interactions with the anonymous whistleblower, earning you “Four Pinocchios” from the Washington Post. Your actions have greatly damaged the integrity of the Intelligence Committee and any legitimacy of your “impeachment inquiry”….
Americans see through this sham impeachment process.
And then Nunes demanded that additional witnesses be called before the committee who would likely shed much light on the sham investigation:
To provide transparency to your otherwise opaque and unfair process … the American people deserve to hear from the following witnesses in an open setting, including:
Devon Archer, former board member of Burisma Holdings.… Mr. Archer is Hunter Biden’s long-term business partner and served as a board member of Burisma Holdings with Mr. Biden. Mr. Archer’s firsthand experience with Burisma can assist the American public in understanding the nature and extent of Ukraine’s pervasive corruption, information that bears directly on President Trump’s longstanding and deeply-held skepticism of the country;
Hunter Biden, former board member of Burisma Holdings.… According to public reporting, Burisma recruited Mr. Biden to its board to improve its public image at a time when Mr. Biden’s father, Vice President Joe Biden, was the Obama Administration’s point person for Ukraine policy;
Nellie Ohr, former contractor for opposition research firm Fusion GPS.… For her work with Fusion that ultimately assisted in the production of the Steele Dossier … Ms. Ohr is a prime fact witness who can assist Congress and the American public in better understanding the facts and circumstances surrounding Ukrainian involvement in the 2016 election;
The anonymous whistleblower whose secondhand complaint initiated the Democrats’ “impeachment inquiry”.… Because President Trump should be afforded an opportunity to confront his accusers, the anonymous whistleblower should testify; and
All individuals relied upon by the anonymous whistleblower in drafting his or her secondhand complaint.
Paul Sperry, a journalist with Real Clear Investigations, knows who the whistleblower is: Eric Ciaramella. Wrote Sperry: “Federal documents reveal that the 33-year-old Ciaramella, a registered Democrat held over from the Obama White House, previously worked with former Vice President Joe Biden and former CIA Director John Brennan, a vocal critic of Trump who helped initiate the Russia ‘collusion’ investigation of the Trump campaign during the 2016 election.” Ciaramella left the White House in mid-2017 after he was accused of working against Trump and “leaking against Trump,” according to a former National Security Council official.
Fred Fleitz, a former CIA analyst and national security advisor to the president, says everyone except the American public knows who the whistleblower is: “Everyone knows who he is. CNN knows. The Washington Post knows. The New York Times knows. Congress knows. The White House knows. Even the president knows who he is.”
Nunes was setting a trap for Schiff. He upped the ante with a second letter to Schiff demanding that Schiff himself testify before three House committees over his admitted conversations with the whistleblower. Wrote Nunes:
Although you publicly claim nothing inappropriate was discussed, the three committees [House Intelligence, Foreign Affairs, and Oversight] deserve to hear directly from you the substance and circumstances surrounding any discussions conducted with the whistleblower, and any instructions you issued regarding those discussions.
Given that you have reneged on your public commitment to let these committees interview the whistleblower directly, you are the only individual who can provide clarity as to these conversations.
Clarity is the very last thing that Schiff wants, and Nunes knows it. By restricting the freedom of inquiry to just those witnesses preselected by his committee, Schiff is admitting that his entire inquiry is a fraud.
Schiff took the bait. Within hours of receiving the demand letters of Nunes, Schiff said, “This inquiry is not, and will not serve … as a vehicle to undertake the same sham investigations into the Bidens or 2016 that the President pressed Ukraine to conduct for his personal political benefit, or to facilitate the President’s effort to threaten, intimidate, and retaliate against the whistleblower who courageously raised the initial alarm.”
To clarify and tighten the restrictions on minority members of his committee on questioning those witnesses Schiff is allowing to be heard publicly this week, he detailed the questions they may only be allowed to ask:
Did the President request that a foreign leader and government initiate investigations to benefit the President’s personal political interests in the United States, including an investigation related to the President’s political rival and potential opponent in the 2020 U.S presidential election?
Did the President — directly or through agents — seek to use the power of the Office of the President and other instruments of the federal government in other ways to apply pressure on the head of state and government of Ukraine to advance the President’s personal political interests, including by leveraging an Oval Office meeting desired by the President of Ukraine or by withholding U.S. military assistance to Ukraine?
Did the President and his Administration seek to obstruct, suppress or cover up information to conceal from the Congress and the American people evidence about the President’s actions and conduct?
Schiff, by rejecting Nunes’ demands and by restricting further any questioning of those preselected witnesses by minority Republican members of his committee in public testimony later this week, has admitted that his so-called investigation is nothing more than a sham and a fraud. By his statements and his actions, Schiff has shown his willingness to subvert policies, procedures, precedent, and the First Amendment-protected rights of those members of his committee in his efforts to bring down the president.
The “impeachment inquiry” circus starts on Wednesday.