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Lindsey Graham: Impeachment inquiry is 'invalid' without whistleblower's testimony


The whistleblower complaint alleged that Trump used the call to seek foreign help for personal political gain, a charge broadly substantiated by the testimonies of current and former U.S. officials in three weeks of closed hearings.

Donald Trump faces the prospect of becoming only the third USA president to be impeached when open hearings begin this week into his alleged effort to bolster his re-election hopes by pushing Ukraine to find dirt on a Democratic rival.

He also called the original whistleblower's testimony "redundant and unnecessary" and said that an appearance would put the whistleblower's personal safety at risk.

There is no evidence of wrongdoing by either Joe or Hunter Biden in Ukraine.

The son of former US Vice President Joe Biden, a primary political rival of US President Donald Trump, is now at the epicenter of a what is purported to be a political scandal because he was a board member of the Ukrainian oil firm Burisma.

"The whistleblower is foundational to what they're doing into the House". Fellow Texas Republican Will Hurd, a member of the House Intelligence Committee, said while Trump's actions may have been illegal, impeachment may not be the right tool to address it.

"If it can be demonstrated that the president asked for and had the requisite state of mind, that the president asked for an investigation of a political rival, that's over the line", Kennedy said on CBS's Face the Nation. Will Hurd, has spoken out against revealing the identity of the whistleblower.

The requests come as House Republicans try to formulate a more robust defense of Mr. Trump. John Kennedy of Louisiana, said the president's behavior may have crossed the line. Asked whether that means impeachable, Kennedy replied, "yeah, probably" but that he wants to hear the testimony. No, it is much stronger than that.

Democrats, who control the House of Representatives, must approve witness requests submitted by Republicans.

The GOP also requested Nellie Ohr, a former Fusion GPS contractor, and Alexandra Chalupa, a former Democratic National Committee staffer -a sign that Republicans still want to focus on unsubstantiated claims related to the 2016 presidential campaign.

"The integrity of the processes under our legal system is more important than the outcome of one particular case", Thornberry said. "I think this is a bunch of B.S".

Democratic lawmaker Adam Schiff, who is leading the impeachment probe, said the Intelligence Committee would "give due consideration to witnesses within the scope of the impeachment inquiry".

"We have enough evidence from the depositions that we've done to warrant bringing this forward".

Trump appeared to take aim at a number of party members starting to attack his July 25 chat with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy while still arguing it was not deserving of ousting an elected president.

His testimony released Friday showed that he told investigators that - on the call - Trump demanded Ukraine open investigations into his political rivals "in order to get what they have been looking for". The open hearings will be the first time the United States hears directly from the officials at the center of allegations against Trump.

Another senior US diplomat, George Kent, will appear with Taylor at Wednesday's hearing.

Former U.S. ambassador to Ukraine Marie Yovanovitch, who Taylor replaced, will testify two days later.