Whistleblower’s Lawyer Offers GOP Chance to Question Client

November 4, 2019by Laura Davison
Rep. Devin Nunes (R-Calif.) speaks at a news conference on July 24, 2019, on Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C. (Stefani Reynolds/CNP/Zuma Press/TNS)

WASHINGTON — The lawyer for the whistleblower behind the report that sparked a House impeachment inquiry said he’s offering Republicans the chance to question his client directly — but only in writing.

Mark S. Zaid said on Twitter Sunday that he’s extended an offer to Rep. Devin Nunes, the top Republican on the House Intelligence Committee, to submit questions that the whistleblower would respond to under oath and the penalty of perjury. But the identity of the whistleblower would remain a secret.

The questions “cannot seek identifying info, regarding which we will not provide, or otherwise be inappropriate. We will ensure timely answers,” Zaid said in a series of tweets.

The offer comes as Republicans are calling for investigations to determine the identify of the whistleblower and whether that person did anything improper to obtain the information about a July 25 phone call, during which President Donald Trump asked the Ukrainian president to investigate political rivals. The report was made public in September and led to the impeachment inquiry.

Trump has repeatedly challenged the whistleblower — including on Sunday, suggesting the person gave “false stories” about the “perfect” phone call. “The whistleblower should be revealed,” Trump told reporters outside the White House. On Saturday, the president wondered what’s become of the person.

The lawyer’s offer would let Republicans bypass Democrats and question the whistleblower directly. GOP lawmakers have criticized a lack of an adequate fact-finding role in the process. The House passed a resolution on Thursday that would permit Republicans to call their own witnesses, but those individuals can be vetoed by House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff.

House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy suggested that anonymous written answers wouldn’t appease members of his party.

“I think that individual should come before the committee,” McCarthy said Sunday on CBS’ “Face the Nation,” adding that it could be a closed-door hearing. “But he needs to answer the questions. We need an openness that people understand this.”

Republican demands are misguided because multiple people who listened to the call have confirmed the whistleblower’s account, House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer said on CBS.

“The problem that Kevin has and the Republicans have is witness after witness after witness says, ‘Yes, I was there, I listened, those are the facts,’ ” Hoyer said.

Zaid and another lawyer representing the whistleblower, Andrew P. Bakaj, in a Washington Post Op-ed last month said that revealing their client’s identity would do little to shed light on Trump’s actions.

“What it would do, however, is put that individual and their family at risk of harm,” they said. “Perhaps more important, it would deter future whistleblowers from coming forward in subsequent administrations, Democratic or Republican.”

———

©2019 Bloomberg News

Visit Bloomberg News at www.bloomberg.com

Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.

Political News

Wisconsin's Reputation for Swinging Expected to Extend to 2020 2020 Elections
Wisconsin's Reputation for Swinging Expected to Extend to 2020
January 17, 2020
by Dan McCue

WASHINGTON - Even among battleground states, Wisconsin is considered special; a study in political contrasts if ever there was one. It went for Barack Obama in 2008 and 2012, flipped to Donald Trump in 2016 by the narrowest of margins -- just 0.77% -- then turned... Read More

High Court to Decide If 'Faithless Electors' Can Defy Popular Vote Supreme Court
High Court to Decide If 'Faithless Electors' Can Defy Popular Vote
January 17, 2020
by Dan McCue

WASHINGTON - The Supreme Court on Friday agreed to decide an issue that could have a profound effect on the outcome of the 2020 election -- whether members of the Electoral College can defy their state's choice for president and cast a vote for someone else.... Read More

House Overturns DeVos Barrier to Student Loan Forgiveness in Bipartisan Vote Education
House Overturns DeVos Barrier to Student Loan Forgiveness in Bipartisan Vote
January 17, 2020
by Dan McCue

WASHINGTON - The House voted Thursday to overturn regulations introduced by Education Secretary Betsy Devos that critics contend made it more difficult for students to have their loans forgiven in the event a college made misleading or false claims. The resolution to overturn DeVos' rule change... Read More

After Drastic Policy Changes, More Than 20,000 Cubans Asylum Seekers Are Fighting Deportation Immigration
After Drastic Policy Changes, More Than 20,000 Cubans Asylum Seekers Are Fighting Deportation

MIAMI — Caught between immigration policy changes championed by two very different administrations, a record number of Cubans are now fighting deportation, as they try to gain asylum in the United States. The Trump administration opened deportation proceedings against 25,044 Cubans in fiscal year 2019, mostly... Read More

The Fickle Voters Who Could Decide the 2020 Democratic Nominee 2020 Elections
The Fickle Voters Who Could Decide the 2020 Democratic Nominee

WASHINGTON — Monica Vernon has spent the Democratic presidential race assessing an assortment of candidates from Elizabeth Warren (“sweet and relatable”) to Amy Klobuchar (“down to earth”) to Cory Booker (“impressive”). But with just weeks before she must make a final decision in her state’s first-in-the-nation... Read More

Florida Supreme Court Upholds ‘Fines and Fees’ Restriction for Ex-Felon Voting Rights State News
Florida Supreme Court Upholds ‘Fines and Fees’ Restriction for Ex-Felon Voting Rights

ORLANDO, Fla. — The Florida Supreme Court confirmed the status quo for ex-felons in Florida, ruling Thursday they must pay all fines, fees and restitution before their right to vote is restored under Amendment 4. In an advisory opinion following a request from Gov. Ron DeSantis,... Read More

Straight From The Well
scroll top