Top House Judiciary Republican says he will call Adam Schiff to testify first

Rep. Doug Collins of Georgia, the top Republican on the House Judiciary Committee, said the Democratic chairman of the House Intelligence Committee will be the first person he calls to testify before his panel as impeachment hearings proceed.

“My first and foremost witness is Adam Schiff,” Collins said during an appearance on “Fox News Sunday.”

After two weeks of witnesses publicly testifying as part of the impeachment inquiry into President Donald Trump, Schiff is expected to submit a report on his committee’s findings this week. The committee will reportedly vote on whether to adopt the report on Tuesday.

The report will then be considered by the House Judiciary Committee, which is expected to draft articles of impeachment in the coming weeks. Rep. Jerry Nadler (D-N.Y.), the committee’s chairman, has asked Collins whether Republicans want to subpoena any witnesses to testify on behalf of Trump.

“The first person that needs to testify is Adam Schiff,” Collins said Sunday. “Adam Schiff is the author of this report.”

Collins said Schiff has compared himself to a special counsel and that he should therefore have to testify before the House Judiciary Committee, like Ken Starr, the special prosecutor appointed to then-President Bill Clinton’s impeachment case, did in 1998.

Schiff has brushed off demands from Trump and Republicans to testify.

“What would I offer in terms of testimony?” he said when asked about it on CNN’s “State Of The Union” last week. “The only reason for them to go through this is to mollify the president, and that’s not a good reason to call a member of Congress.”

Schiff hasn’t commented on whether he would refuse to testify if called to do so, but said Republicans would show a “fundamental lack of seriousness” if they subpoenaed him.

Asked Sunday if he sees anything wrong with Trump asking Ukraine to investigate political rival Joe Biden, a request that is the focus of the ongoing impeachment inquiry, Collins defended the president.

“I think it’s interesting that the premise of your question is based on witnesses who agree with your premise,” Collins said, apparently referring to the multiple current and former State Department officials who testified that the White House used military aid as leverage in an effort to get Ukraine to commit to investigating Biden.

″President Trump has always been concerned about foreign aid,” he added. “The question is, if we’re looking at corruption, does it matter who’s involved?”

Wallace pressed him again: “The July 25 phone call between President Trump and [Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky] ― he never mentions corruption in Ukraine. ... He just mentions investigate two Americans: Joe Biden and his son, Hunter.”

But Collins continued to defend Trump.

“The president looks after our tax dollars and the president is looking out for the fact, was there problems there?” he told Wallace. “When we look at this process, we do not see a president who conditioned anything.”