Nov 3, 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.

The big picture: Republicans have long complained that the impeachment process is unfair and that they don't have equal rights to question witnesses. The offer from the whistleblower would provide a direct channel of communications with Republicans on the committee — circumventing Schiff, whom Trump defenders have sought to paint as a partisan operative conducting an unfair investigation in secret.

  • It's unclear whether House Intelligence Republicans have accepted the offer. House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) said on CBS' "Face the Nation" that he wasn't aware of communications between Zaid and House Intel ranking member Devin Nunes (R-Calif.).

Go deeper: Read the original whistleblower complaint

Go deeper

Schiff calls whistleblower testimony "redundant and unnecessary"

House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff speaks to the media in the Capitol Visitor Center last Monday. Photo: Tom Williams/CQ-Roll Call, Inc via Getty Images

House Intelligence Chairman Adam Schiff said in a letter Saturday that the whistleblower's testimony is "redundant and unnecessary" because the impeachment inquiry has gathered evidence that "not only confirms, but far exceeds" information in the original complaint.

Why it matters: Schiff's letter to Rep. Devin Nunes, the top Republican on the House Intelligence Committee, comes after Nunes complained that Democrats had yet to treat President Trump with "fairness" in the impeachment process, directing witnesses not to answer questions from GOP committee members and withholding transcripts.

Go deeperArrowNov 10, 2019

Vindman refuses to answer questions amid fear of outing whistleblower

Lt. Col. Alexander Vindman faced a round of questioning from House Intelligence Committee Ranking Member Devin Nunes (R-Calif.) over people with whom he discussed the July 25 call between President Trump and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky.

Why it matters: After Vindman said he discussed the call — as a part of his position on the National Security Council — with State Department official George Kent and an unnamed intelligence official, the questioning devolved into a squabble over the impeachment inquiry's rules protecting the identity of the whistleblower.

Go deeperArrowNov 19, 2019

Schiff rebuffs call for Bidens, whistleblower to testify in impeachment probe

Rep. Devin Nunes. Pete Marovich / Stringer/Getty Images

House Intelligence Chair Adam Schiff (D-Calif.) rebuffed the proposal for Hunter Biden to testify in public impeachment inquiry hearings beginning next week, but says he is reviewing the other witnesses House Republicans requested in a letter on Saturday morning.

Why it matters: Current ranking member Rep. Devin Nunes claims House Democrats have failed to treat Trump with "fairness" in the impeachment process thus far by directing witnesses not to answer questions from Republican committee members and by withholding transcripts.

Go deeperArrowUpdated Nov 9, 2019