Collins requests extra witnesses at first Judiciary Committee impeachment hearing

Doug Collins

FILE – In this May 21, 2019, file photo, Rep. Doug Collins, R-Ga., ranking member of the House Judiciary Committee, speaks during a hearing without former White House Counsel Don McGahn on Capitol Hill in Washington. Collins wants to be appointed to Sen. Johnny Isakson’s Senate seat when he steps down in December. (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky, File)

WASHINGTON, D.C. (CBS NEWS) – The Republican ranking member of the Judiciary Committee sent a letter to the Democratic committee chairman on Saturday requesting extra witnesses be added to the panel Wednesday at the committee’s first impeachment hearing. Congressman Doug Collins also asked that Republicans have the opportunity to select some of the witnesses.

“To ensure fairness and restore integrity to the ongoing impeachment process, I request an expanded panel and a balanced composition of academic witnesses to opine on the subject matter at issue during the hearing,” Collins wrote in his letter to Chairman Jerry Nadler. Four academic experts are scheduled to appear on Wednesday, although the identities of those witnesses are not yet publicly known.

Collins noted in his letter that the House Judiciary Committee called two panels, consisting of ten and nine experts each, during the 1998 impeachment inquiry against former President Bill Clinton.

“I request that you expand the number of witnesses called upon to testify on December 4 to give the American people a wider array of perspectives regarding impeachment. I further request that you equally allocate those witnesses to the majority and minority’s choosing,” Collins said.

Collins hinted at the identity of one of the witnesses called by the Democrats on the committee, citing an article by Harvard Law Professor Laurence Tribe where Tribe called for Mr. Trump’s impeachment in 2017. Tribe also wrote a book on impeachment in 2018.

“The Committee must ensure it maintains its credibility and its historically preeminent role in the impeachment of presidents by not rushing to articles of impeachment or hearing only from scholars with demonstrated animosity towards the president,” Collins wrote, indicating that Tribe is one of the witnesses called to appear on Wednesday.

“An equal distribution of experts for the December 4 hearing would be a small concession to demonstrate to the American people this impeachment inquiry is not merely political theater,” Collins concluded.

Nadler sent a letter to President Trump inviting him and his counsel to participate in the hearing on December 4. He also sent a letter to Mr. Trump on Friday giving the president a deadline of December 6 to participate in any impeachment proceedings by the Judiciary Committee.

The White House is unlikely to send legal representation to the first impeachment hearing by the Judiciary Committee. The first day of hearings in the House Judiciary Committee, Mr. Trump is expected to be in London for the final day of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) summit.

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