Oct 13, 2019

Adam Schiff says whistleblower may not testify in Ukraine investigation

Adam Schiff. Photo: Liz Lynch/Getty Images

House Intelligence Chairman Adam Schiff (D-Calif.) said on CBS’ "Face the Nation" on Sunday that the committees investigating President Trump and Ukraine may not need testimony from the whistleblower who filed the complaint that set off the impeachment inquiry.

Why it matters: Schiff said that asking for a testimony could unnecessarily harm the whistleblower by exposing their identity, especially with Trump accusing the official of partisanship and repeatedly calling for them to be unmasked.

  • House Democrats have reportedly been considering how to collect testimony from the official while protecting their identity from Trump's allies in Congress, including the possibility of testifying via a video feed that would obscure their face and voice.
  • Schiff noted that a summary of the call between Trump and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky at the center of the whistleblower’s complaint is now public and that the committees may be able to get pertinent information from other witnesses.

What they're saying: "Our primary interest right now is making sure that that person is protected. Indeed, now there’s more than one whistleblower, that they are protected,” Schiff said.

  • "We do want to make sure that we identify other evidence that is pertinent to the [investigation] — the withholding of the military support, the effort to cover this up by hiding this in a classified computer system. ... It may not be necessary to take steps that might reveal the whistleblower’s identity to do that."

Go deeper: What matters most in the Trump-Ukraine scandal

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Trump: "We must determine the Whistleblower’s identity"

Photo by Eric Baradat/AFP/Getty Images

President Trump on Monday said in a pair of tweets Monday the whistleblower who filed the complaint that set off the House impeachment inquiry must "testify to explain why he got my Ukraine conversation sooo wrong" and that they must be identified "to determine WHY this was done to the USA."

Adam Schiff now doesn’t seem to want the Whistleblower to testify. NO! Must testify to explain why he got my Ukraine conversation sooo wrong, not even close. Did Schiff tell him to do that? We must determine the Whistleblower’s identity to determine WHY this was done to the USA.
Go deeperArrowOct 14, 2019

Republicans scold Schiff for not seeking whistleblower's testimony

House Intelligence Committee Chairman Rep. Adam Schiff (D-Calif.) Photo: Alex Wong/Getty Images

Republican leaders on the House committees investigating President Trump and Ukraine condemned House Intelligence Chairman Adam Schiff in a letter on Wednesday for failing to call the whistleblower to testify before them, according to a copy of the letter obtained by Axios.

Why it matters: The letter marks the first time Republicans have formally demanded the statement of a witness involved in Democrats' impeachment inquiry. But "this particular whistleblower could also face a significant physical risk if his or her identity is exposed," Lawfare notes.

Go deeperArrowOct 23, 2019

Whistleblower offers House Republicans chance to ask written questions

Photo: Alex Wong/Getty Images

The intelligence community whistleblower whose allegations about President Trump's interactions with Ukraine set off the impeachment inquiry has offered to answer written questions from Republicans on the House Intelligence Committee under oath, their attorney Mark Zaid told CBS News.

Why it matters: House Intelligence Chairman Adam Schiff (D-Calif.) initially wanted the whistleblower to testify, but has since suggested that it may not be necessary because other witnesses in the investigation have corroborated the Ukraine allegations — setting off frustration among House Republicans. Schiff has also warned that Republicans on the committee may take steps to try to unmask the whistleblower's identity, which President Trump has repeatedly called for.

Go deeperArrowNov 3, 2019