Chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, Rep. Adam Schiff had his hands full right out of the gate in Wednesday’s impeachment show trial, as GOP lawmakers took advantage of the opportunity to ask for more answers on when they can expect the Ukraine whistle-blower to testify.
Rep. Elise Stefanik interrupted proceedings with a parliamentary inquiry on a GOP request for certain witnesses to be called.
Adam Schiff responded by saying that three of the witnesses have been scheduled for next week.
“Those are your witnesses, Mr. Chairman, what about the additional six witnesses,” she countered.
Schiff told Stefanik that she could make such an inquiry after today’s testimony, but she came right back with a point of order.
“Mr. Chairman, will you be prohibiting witnesses from answering members questions, as you have in the closed door depositions?” the Republican lawmaker asked.
Adam Schiff replied to say that he only did so to protect the whistle-blower’s identity.
Stefanik interrupted to say, “Only one member and their staff on this committee has direct knowledge of the identity of the whistle-blower.”
This was a direct shot at Schiff after the reports that the whistle-blower, a CIA official, contacted his staff on the committee prior to registering his complaint.
“We’ll not permit the outing of the whistle-blower and questions along those lines — counsel will inform their clients not to respond. If necessary, I will intervene,” Schiff said.
Then Rep. Mike Conaway, R-Texas, made a motion.
“I seek recognition to make a motion that we actually subpoena the whistle-blower for a closed-door secret deposition so that the questions that should be appropriately asked of the whistle-blower by our side and your side may be asked,” Conaway said. “I would prefer that rather than it be your single decision, that the committee speak to that issue, rather than just the chairman.”
Again, Adam Schiff put the issue off until after today’s testimony.
This prompted Rep. Jim Jordan, newly appointed to the House Intel panel, to jump in.
“Do you anticipate when we might vote on the ability to have the whistle-blower in front of us?” Rep. Jordan asked. “Something you, the 435 members of Congress, you’re the only member who knows who that individual is and your staff is the only staff of any member of Congress who has had a chance to talk with that individual. We’d like that opportunity. When might that happen in this proceeding today?”
Chairman Adam Schiff responded by claiming that he doesn’t know the identity of this person.
“As the gentleman knows, that’s a false statement. I do not know the identity of the whistle-blower and I’m determined to make sure that identity is protected,” he said. “But as I said to Mr. Conaway, you’ll have an opportunity after the witnesses testify to make a motion to subpoena any witness and compel a vote.”
The vote being on a Democrat-majority panel, of course.