The whistleblowers who have come forward with allegations involving President Trump and Ukraine do not intend to reveal their identities, according to a lawyer representing them, raising the prospect Americans may never know who prompted an impeachment inquiry.
“None of our clients intend to reveal their identities. After having proceeded through the system properly and lawfully, they have a legal right to remain anonymous,” said lawyer Mark Zaid in an email statement to Breitbart News.
“In light of their intelligence community status and the heightened partisanship, revealing their identities, correctly or falsely, places those individuals and their families at risk of harm and harassment,” he said.
Republicans are becoming increasingly outraged at the prospect of Democrats conducting an “impeachment inquiry” in secret. Democrats have not taken an official vote in the House to begin an official impeachment inquiry, which would trigger certain rights for Republican lawmakers, and have refused to release the transcripts of witnesses who have recently testified to Congress as part of the inquiry.
The Washington Post reported Monday that House Democrats are weighing “extraordinary steps” to mask the identity of a CIA official who filed a whistleblower complaint against Trump, prompting their so-called impeachment inquiry.
Democrats are considering having the official testify from a remote location and obscuring the individual’s appearance and voice, or a “staff-only” session that would prevent lawmakers from attending and asking questions, according to the Post.
“[House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff (D-CA)] does not want to burn his identity,” a senior congressional official told the paper.
Schiff denies knowing the whistleblower’s identity, but he was forced to admit the whistleblower contacted his committee before making his complaint against Trump.
The New York Times reported last week that the CIA official went to the House Intelligence Committee and spoke with a Schiff aide, who then passed on the allegations to Schiff and instructed the official to file a whistleblower complaint with the inspector general.
Fred Fleitz, a former CIA analyst and chief of staff of the National Security Council, said lawmakers need to be able to question the CIA official to assess him, his allegations, and his motivations, particularly given reports the whistleblower had a prior working relationship with Democrats.
“Schiff’s efforts to prevent an in-person, closed door @HouseIntelComm hearing with the [whistleblower] looks like he wants to hide the WB’s partisan motivations for filing his complaint,” he added.
7/ Schiff's efforts to prevent an in-person, closed door
@HouseIntelComm hearing with the WB looks like he wants to hide the WB's partisan motivations for filing his complaint.
— Fred Fleitz (@FredFleitz) October 8, 2019
Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Lindsey Graham (R-SC) on Sunday said if House Democrats advance articles of impeachment, he will “make sure” the officials who filed whistleblower complaints face public questioning.
“If the whistleblower’s allegations are turned into an impeachment article, it’s imperative that the whistleblower be interviewed in public, under oath, and cross-examined,” he said on Fox News Sunday Morning Futures.
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