West Virginia Sen. Joe Manchin said Wednesday he believes former Vice President Joe Biden’s son, Hunter Biden, is a relevant witness in President Donald Trump’s Senate impeachment trial.
Manchin, who represents a state Trump handily won in 2016, becomes the first Democrat to break from his party to favor calling Hunter Biden as a witness.
“I think so; I really do,” Manchin said during an interview on MSNBC when asked if he thinks Hunter Biden’s testimony is relevant. “I don’t have a problem there because this is why we are where we are.
“I think that he could clear himself, from what I know and what I’ve heard,” Manchin added.
“But being afraid to put anybody who might have pertinent information [on the stand] is wrong, no matter if you’re a Democrat or a Republican. And not go home and say ‘I protected one of the’—no, if it’s relevant, then it should be there,” Manchin continued.
Democratic House impeachment managers have said that the testimony of Hunter Biden isn’t relevant to the president’s impeachment case.
Republicans disagree, noting that Ukraine is at the center of the impeachment and Hunter Biden was employed by a Ukrainian energy firm while his father, now a leading 2020 presidential contender, was in charge of policy for that country on behalf of the Obama administration.
They have referenced video of a Council on Foreign Relations event in 2018 where the former Vice President brags that he threatened to withhold $1 billion in U.S. loan guarantees unless the Ukrainian president at the time, Petro Poroshenko, fired Viktor Shokin, the state prosecutor, who was investigating the energy firm where Hunter Biden served as a board member for $83,000 per month.
Shokin was fired by Poroshenko immediately following Joe Biden’s threat.
During a July 25 phone call with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, President Trump asked his counterpart to “look into” allegations of corruption against the Bidens. But there were no demand made, according to a transcript of that call the White House released.