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Background

In the 2019-2020 House Impeachment inquiry into President Donald Trump, many requested witnesses did not testify nor provide documents. Many of these witnesses defied subpoenas either voluntarily or due to the White House's stance toward the inquiry.

In addition, there were also over eight witnesses that were proposed by Rep. Devin Nunes but were ultimately turned down by Rep. Adam Schiff. Similarly, there were also 8 witnesses called by Rep. Doug Collins that were also subsequently turned down by Rep. Jarrold Nadler.

The turning down of the witnesses in both cases may make sense, or it may not make sense from the House's point of view. However, the simple act of turning down witnesses, however justified it may have been, makes the argument of "the House stopped certain witnesses from testifying" a truthful statement. This statement alone would lead a third-party observer to possibly cast doubt on how thorough the information of the House Inquiry really was.

Question

Regardless of the sensibility or frivolity, why the heads of both the intelligence and judiciary committees turn down witnesses? Please only give stated reasons.

  • 5
    Why do you say 'regardless of the frivolity'? This is a very imperfect analogy (since the House impeachment process is much closer to a grand jury than a trial), but if a defendant in a criminal case requested that the president of the US testify because they signed the bill that made the conduct in question criminal, one would expect that witness request to be turned down without a second thought. – Steven Stadnicki Jan 27 at 19:51
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    @StevenStadnicki You bring up a good point. It is analogous to a grand jury yes. But the difference between a grand jury and the House is that the "jurors" (to continue the analogy) vote on how the process itself works and are not bound by any set in stone judiciary processes. An actual Grand Jury does not have the power of the Federal Legislature and must abide by regulations not set by them. Knowing this, because the House has the opportunity, why wouldn't the house want to make a process that is more comprehensive than a typical grand jury? – isakbob Jan 27 at 20:04
  • Comments deleted. Please don't use comments to answer the question. If you would like to answer, please post a real answer. – Philipp Jan 29 at 13:27
  • Can you make more clear whether/that you are looking for stated reasons? Because potentially asking for hidden reasons, which one now-deleted answer tried to (biasedly) provide, isn't on-topic... Also, the poster of the deleted answer has take to meta complain about it... in an answer. – Fizz Jan 29 at 17:16
  • @Fizz edited question accordingly – isakbob Jan 29 at 18:53
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Because four were completely irrelevant to the question at hand, two were superfluous, and two actually did testify.

Let's go through the list for fun.

  1. Hunter Biden. It would stretch credibility that Trump or one of his cohorts would have directly informed Hunter Biden that they were attempting to determine what criminal activity he did. You don't tell the (alleged) criminal what stuff he needs to hide.

  2. The whistleblower. In the United States, we give whistleblowers many protections in order to encourage whistleblowing. It is very likely that this whistleblower is under witness protection after Trump surrogates leaked his or her name. This person admitted to not having firsthand knowledge of the event, but was the only person brave enough to step forward and tell his higher-ups. If they had unique knowledge to share, there may have been a case for bringing them out with a voice changer and face-blurrer. But seeing as how we have firsthand witnesses who have already testified and even better witnesses that could testify, there is no need to endanger a person's safety for said testimony.

  3. Devon Archer, somebody who worked at Burisma Holdings. Again, we are investigating Trump's abuse of power right now, not any (alleged) activities by the Bidens. Saying 'everybody was doing crimes' is not a valid defense. If they want to impeach Joe Biden? Feel free to bring Devon along.

  4. Alexandra Chalupa, a DNC lady who sought information about Trump and Ukraine after we found out Manafort and Co. did some war profiteering over there. Again, irrelevant to whether or not Donald J Trump abused power. If she did something illegal, charge her individually. Considering she (likely) doesn't have hundreds of millions of dollars to withhold, we're not even in the same league here.

  5. Kurt Volker. He did testify for the House, and his texts helped to cement that Trump knew what he was doing when he attempted to bribe the Ukrainians.

  6. David Hale. Yet another guy who was allowed from this list. He not only knew about the bribery, but also the attempt to sack (or kill) our Ambassador to Ukraine to cover Trump's tracks.

  7. Tim Morrison, Colonel Vindman's boss and a direct Trump hire. If we didn't have Colonel Vindman's testimony, it would be vital to depose Mr. Morrison. However, as both were on the very same phone call and Morrison did not have any other interactions with this plot, he is superfluous to the case.

  8. Nellie Ohr, who worked for Fusion GPS. Again, a likely useful witness, but not for the impeachment of Donald J Trump. She has knowledge of how the Steele Dossier was created. However, Trump is not being impeached for what was in the Steele Dossier. If at some point the House does decide to add a charge regarding the multiple felonies found in the Mueller Report, she would be an excellent witness to call.

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  • 15
    Good list, but I'd disagree that Tim Morrison is superfluous. He'd either reinforce or discredit Colonel Vindman's testimony, which is directly relevant to the case. Saying "This eyewitness can testify, this one can't" smacks of bias, especially given Michael Atkinson's testimony has been buried. What did he say? He's the only witness who did testify who has not had any testimony released. That's also consistent with trying to bias testimony. – Just Me Jan 27 at 20:13
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    @JustMe How many people from the same call are necessary? – Carduus Jan 27 at 20:43
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    The testimony of separate witnesses to an event is incredibly important - if your goal is to get an accurate portrayal of the actual event. Should Morrison corroborate Vindman's testimony, that would be incredibly important. Should Morrison contradict Vindman's testimony, that would also be incredibly important. Not having Morrison testify is therefore incredibly revealing given Rep Schiff's strained relationship with truth. – Just Me Jan 27 at 20:47
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    @JustMe Right, but they already had Jennifer Williams and Col Vindman's testimony and a public statement from LG Kellogg. That's three witnesses on record. They subpoenaed Charles Kupperman, who was also on the phone call, and he refused. They subpoenaed Trump and he refused. They subpoenaed Pompeo and he refused. Robert Blair was subpoenaed and refused. Why would Morrison be any different? And why incentivize this behavior? – Carduus Jan 27 at 20:54
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    Lots of comments deleted. Please keep comments relevant to the answer. This is not a place to debate for the 57034763409634th time whether or not Trump should be impeached. – Philipp Jan 29 at 9:23

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