After White House counsel Pat Cipollone declined an invitation by chair Jerry Nadler to participate in Wednesday's House Judiciary Committee impeachment hearing, White House adviser Kellyanne Conway presented a (probably sarcastic) alternative.
"Is Adam Schiff going to testify? Because he is a fact witness. That would be great. I'll tell you what: If Adam Schiff testifies, I'll show up on behalf of the White House," Conway said Monday.
Rep. Adam Schiff (D-Calif.), the chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, oversaw the first phase of the impeachment effort, which concluded with public hearings last month. He has carefully controlled the process, wielding the Democrats' majority status to set the terms of hearings and control who does and does not testify.
This is, of course, within his and the House Democrats' power because they have the votes, but the president and Republicans have protested the process from the beginning as unfair. Conway called the impeachment process "unconstitutional" and "illegitimate."
Whether Conway was serious about her offer to represent the White House on Wednesday is probably irrelevant—Schiff does not want to testify and will not be made to testify by Democrats. Republicans strongly desire to have a chance to question him under oath about the anonymous whistleqblower and the origins of the complaint that started everything.
Wednesday's hearing, however, doesn't appear to be concerned with uncovering facts or evidence. Based on what the Judiciary Committee has revealed, it will consist of testimony and legal analysis from constitutional law experts about whether Trump's alleged actions are impeachable.
The questions being considered are whether Trump abused the power of the presidency by attempting to pressure Ukraine, through the withholding of military aid, to publicly investigate a political opponent (Joe Biden and his son, Hunter). And, if he is determined to have done so, whether that would qualify as an impeachable act.
The Judiciary Committee will receive a full report from the Intelligence Committee on Tuesday, and will then be tasked with drafting articles of impeachment to be voted on by the full House, if Democrats choose to proceed. They do not need any Republican support to impeach, although former Republican and current independent Rep. Justin Amash (Mich.) has been supportive of the effort.