House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff is reportedly telling witnesses testifying in the impeachment inquiry not to answer questions by certain Republicans.
While speaking with reporters on Capitol Hill, House Minority Whip Steve Scalise slammed the secretive process, pointing out that Schiff gets to choose all the witnesses, but that he’s also “directing witnesses not to answer questions that he doesn’t want the witness to answer if they’re asked by Republicans.”
If true, this is, by definition, witness tampering. According to U.S. Code § 1512, anyone who “knowingly uses intimidation, threatens, or corruptly persuades another person, or attempts to do so, or engages in misleading conduct toward another person, with intent to cause or induce any person to withhold testimony,” has tampered with a witness. If Schiff is directing witnesses not to answer questions, he’s effectively trying to get them to withhold testimony.
House Minority Whip @SteveScalise rips into Democratic "soviet style" impeachment process:
— Daily Caller (@DailyCaller) October 29, 2019
If this is truly an open and fair process, both sides should be able to ask questions of the witnesses, and Adam Schiff should not be preventing witnesses from answering questions or stopping Republicans from asking questions. This is clearly not a fair process. “This has been a tainted process from the start,” Scalise said. “What happened today confirms even worse just how poorly Adam Schiff is handling this process, denying the ability for Republicans to even ask basic questions that are critical to the heart of whether or not a President of the United States is impeached.”
Matt Margolis is the author of Trumping Obama: How President Trump Saved Us From Barack Obama’s Legacy and the bestselling book The Worst President in History: The Legacy of Barack Obama. You can follow Matt on Twitter @MattMargolis