House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff isn’t quite as keen as he once was to call the first Ukraine whistleblower to testify, announcing he might not need to appear in the course of the impeachment inquiry after all.
“Well, our primary interest right now is making sure that that person is protected,” Schiff said during an appearance on “Face the Nation.”
“Indeed, now there’s more than one whistleblower, that they are protected. And given that we already have the call record, we don’t need the whistleblower who wasn’t on the call to tell us what took place during the call. We have the best evidence of that.”
He concluded that “[i]t may not be necessary to take steps that might reveal the whistleblower’s identity to do that. And we’re going to make sure we protect that whistleblower.”
Now, there might be a number of other reasons why Schiff doesn’t think it is necessary for the whistleblower to testify anymore.
First, there was the revelation he had contact with Schiff’s staff before filing the report, something that makes the whistleblower report look a lot less spontaneous. And then there was the fact that he apparently worked with Joe Biden at the White House and may have even traveled to Ukraine with the then-vice president.
And now comes yet another report that the whistleblower may have had another source of bias in their background.
“The whistleblower at the center of Democrats’ impeachment inquiry acknowledged to the Intelligence Community Inspector General (ICIG) that bias against President Trump might be alleged against him or her for a third, previously unreported reason, sources familiar with the ICIG investigation tell Fox News,” Fox News reported late Wednesday.
“Fox News has previously reported the whistleblower is a registered Democrat and had a prior work history with a senior Democrat.
“Though Fox News has learned that an additional element of possible bias was identified by the whistleblower, its nature remains unclear.”
This certainly wasn’t the headline on Wednesday — that was the continued fallout from Ukraine diplomat William Taylor’s assertion that a quid pro quo existed when it came to Ukrainian aid from the Trump administration — but it was yet another sign that the original whistleblower complaint may not have been entirely motivated by a pure heart and patriotism.
Take, for instance, the meeting with Schiff and his aides. In his report, Fox News notes, the whistleblower didn’t check the box asking whether they had any contact with “Congress or congressional committee(s).”
Schiff, of course, had originally claimed “we have not spoken directly with the whistleblower” during an interview.
He would later amend this to say that he “does not know the identity of the whistleblower, and has not met with or spoken with the whistleblower or their counsel” and that “we” referred to the members of the House Intelligence Committee, not their staff. Convincing!
Given the gravity of the other news we’ve received this week, why does this matter? Well, because it paints the proceedings as something other than an organically unfolding process in which Adam Schiff’s fearless truth-seekers are uncovering grave crimes.
The Taylor testimony is the latest example. Does it sound damning? Well, yes. But then again, we didn’t actually hear the Taylor testimony, did we? It took place behind closed doors as part of a process designed to fast-track articles of impeachment as opposed to discovering the facts in an orderly and public fashion.
When it came to the whistleblower, we were originally assured there was absolutely nothing that would cast doubt on his claims, despite the fact that the Intelligence Community inspector general had said there were indications of “political bias” in their background.
We’ve found out a great deal about the whistleblower and their background in the weeks since the report was made public, including their dalliance with Schiff’s staff.
All of this means that Republicans want to call the whistleblower and find out what the story is. In a letter to Rep. Schiff sent earlier in the day on Wednesday, three ranking GOP congressmen — Jim Jordan of Ohio, Michael McCaul of Texas and Devin Nunes of California — demanded that the whistleblower testify.
In the letter, they cited inconsistencies between the whistleblower complaint and information obtained by the committees involved with the inquiry, including the transcript of the call between President Trump and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, which touched off the complaint in the first place.
“Because Speaker Pelosi’s uniltateral impeachment inquiry has not provided us with co-equal subpoena power — as has been the bipartisan precedent in modern impeachment inquiries — we expect for you to arrange for the Committees [involved in the inquiry] to receive the testimony of the employees and all individuals he or she relied upon in formulating the August 12th complaint,” the letter read.
And if Schiff doesn’t want to have the whistleblower testify, you can prepare for some fireworks. This is yet another serious blow to the whistleblower’s credibility, making it imperative that we hear from them once and for all — and not just with an uncritical eye.
Author: C. Douglas Golden