Stefanik read aloud Schiff’s tweets - as well as quotes from news reports and television appearances - where Schiff said that the whistleblower, who remains anonymous, would testify – something that hasn’t happened during the impeachment hearings yet. Schiff has denied requests for the whistleblower to come forward, calling the potential testimony “redundant” and “unnecessary” last week.
“The chairman refused to allow us to put these into the record with unanimous consent,” Stefanik said. “As we know, it is important to protect whistleblowers from retaliation and firing…but in this case, the fact that we are getting criticized for statements he, himself, made earlier in the process shows the duplicity and abuse of power we see.”
Schiff said in September that the whistleblower would appear before Congress “very soon,” but in recent weeks has suggested that such testimony is unnecessary. However, Republicans involved in the impeachment inquiry have included the whistleblower on their list of proposed witnesses, in response to which Schiff has blasted GOP members, replying that the whistleblower will not appear for testimony as part of the inquiry.
The confrontation began when committee Ranking Member Devin Nunes yielded the remainder of his allotted time for questioning Yovanovich to Stefanik, who had sparred multiple times with Schiff during both hearings. Shiff, Stefanik and Nunes then got into a verbal confrontation regarding whether the Republican could offer his time to a fellow member of Congress rather than minority counsel. Stefanik repeatedly tried to speak, only for Schiff to bang his gavel again.
The impeachment inquiry against President Trump was launched on 24 September over a whistleblower complaint that claimed the president allegedly put pressure on the Ukranian president Volodymir Zelensky to investigate potential corruption dealings of Joe Biden and his son in Ukraine. It was revealed later, however, that the information provided by the so-called whistleblower was ''something they heard from somebody else.''
Right from the start, Trump has dismissed the impeachment inquiry against him as another ''witch hunt'' and insists that pure hearsay cannot serve as the basis for impeachment.