Schiff: Trump "Doesn't Have The Right To Call Irrelevant Witnesses Or Witnesses Who Aren't Fact Witnesses" | Video | RealClearPolitics

Schiff: Trump "Doesn't Have The Right To Call Irrelevant Witnesses Or Witnesses Who Aren't Fact Witnesses"

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Sunday on NBC's "Meet the Press," House Intelligence Committee Chairman and impeachment trial manager Adam Schiff said the White House defense team is "deathly afraid of what witnesses will have to say" and "if they’re successful in depriving the country of a fair trial, there is no exoneration."

Schiff said "it is a false choice to say if the House gets to call witnesses doesn't the president" and the president has "the right to call relevant witnesses just as we do, in his defense" but "he doesn't have the right to call irrelevant witnesses."

"If they're irrelevant, what are you afraid of? Won't that be exposed?" host Chuck Todd asked Schiff.

"I'm not afraid of anything. The question is: Should the trial be used as a vehicle to smear his opponent? Is that the purpose of a Senate trial? Or is it to get to the truth? Because if it's to get to the truth, Hunter Biden can't tell us anything about the withholding of the military funding," Schiff said.

The president weighed in on Schiff's interview not long after it aired:



CHUCK TODD: Where are you on witness reciprocity?

ADAM SCHIFF: Look, I think the president has the right to call relevant witnesses, just as we do, in his defense. He doesn't have the right to call irrelevant witnesses or witnesses who aren't fact witnesses.

CHUCK TODD: Well, if the Senate says he does, why not then -- I mean, that's the way the trial rules work. I mean, I understand where you come from, but if the Senate says he can, then he can.

ADAM SCHIFF: Well, the Senate can make whatever decision the Senate can make. And the American people can judge that decision. But if we're talking about a fair trial, if the Senators are going to give content to their oath to be impartial administrators of justice, they can't say, ‘Well, we're going to allow the president to trade witnesses that don't shed any light on the facts, but would allow him to, once again, try to smear his opponent. We're going to make that the pound of flesh. We're going to make that the cost of calling relevant witnesses.'

...

CHUCK TODD: If they're irrelevant, what are you afraid of? Won't that be exposed?

REPRESENTATIVE ADAM SCHIFF: Well, it's not a question of what I'm afraid of. I'm not afraid of anything. The question is: Should the trial be used as a vehicle to smear his opponent? Is that the purpose of a Senate trial? Or is it to get to the truth? Because if it's to get to the truth, Hunter Biden can't tell us anything about the withholding of the military funding. Hunter Biden can't tell us why the president wouldn't let the president of Ukraine into the Oval Office. Hunter Biden can't tell us anything about that. And so, you know, it's a false choice to say, "Well, if the House gets to call the witnesses, doesn't the president?" Yes, we both get to call witnesses. We both get to call relevant ones. And one other point on this, Chuck, which is important. We have a very capable justice sitting right behind me who can make decisions about the materiality of witnesses. We trust the Supreme Court justice, the chief justice, to make those decisions. And one final thing, if you will...

The president's team is pushing out the argument, "We don't have time to call witnesses. We'd really love to have these people testify. We just don't have time to do it. It would be too inconvenient." That's a dodge. We have a justice who can make decisions if there's any legitimate claim of privilege.



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