Impeachment Whistleblower Agrees to Answer Republican Questions
The lawyer for the whistleblower whose serious concerns about the Trump – Ukraine telephone call which set off the House impeachment probe says his client has agreed to answer written questions from Republicans.
Attorney Mark Zaid tweeted Sunday that the whistleblower will answer questions from House Republicans “in writing, under oath and penalty of perjury.”
Zaid added that the only questions he or she will refuse to answer concern identity.
Zaid said some Republicans have “sought to expose our client’s identity which could jeopardize their safety as well as that of their family…being a whistleblower is not a partisan job or is impeachment an objective. This is not our role.”Zaid made his offer to Representative Devin Nunes, the top Republican on the House Intelligence Committee — one of the panels that has been hearing testimony in the impeachment inquiry. Nunes has yet to reply.
News reports say the whistleblower is a Central Intelligence Agency official who had worked in the White House. That person was disturbed by Trump’s July 25th telephone call with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy in which Trump urged Zelenskiy to investigate 2020 Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden for alleged corruption, and his son Hunter Biden, who worked for a Ukrainian gas company.
The whistleblower reported his or her concerns to the intelligence community inspector general. Although this person gave a second-hand account of the Trump phone call, witnesses who heard the call directly have verified the whistleblower’s account.
Despite laws protecting government whistleblowers, Trump demanded again Sunday that the whistleblower be revealed.
“The Whistleblower got it sooo wrong that HE must come forward,” Trump tweeted. “The Fake News Media knows who he is but, being an arm of the Democrat Party, don’t want to reveal him because there would be hell to pay,” Trump said. “Reveal the Whistleblower and end the Impeachment Hoax!”
Trump insists he does not know who the whistleblower is, although he keeps referring to that person as “he” and says it’s an “Obama guy.”
The Democratic-led impeachment probe is centered on whether Trump called on a foreign government – Ukraine – to interfere in next year’s election and withheld military aid unless Zelenskiy publically committed himself to investigating Biden and the Democrats.
White House aide Kellyanne Conway, told CNN Sunday that Trump’s request was not an impeachable offense.
“Nothing would lead to a high crime or misdemeanor,” she said. “I feel comfortable in saying that (Trump) never mentioned a quid pro quo or 2020, Conway said, adding that Ukraine eventually got the military aid Trump is accused of freezing.
When asked if it is appropriate for Trump to ask a foreign country to investigate an American citizen, in this case Joe Biden, Conway said, “That’s a very simplified version of what happened.”
Trump alleged that when Biden was vice president, he threatened to withhold loan guarantees to Ukraine unless it fired a prosecutor who had earlier carried out a corruption probe of the gas company where Hunter Biden.
No evidence of wrongdoing by Joe or Hunter Biden has ever surfaced.
Trump also says it was Ukraine, not Russia, which interfered in the 2016 U.S. election on behalf of Democrats. That assertion is based on a debunked conspiracy theory and U.S. intelligence has concluded it was Russia that meddled in the election to try to get Trump elected.
The House impeachment inquiry continues this week with the committees scheduled to hear from four more witnesses Monday.
Ken Bredemeier contributeds to this report.