Whistleblower to testify ‘soon,' House Intelligence Chairman Schiff says
WASHINGTON — House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff said Sunday that his panel has reached an agreement to secure testimony from the anonymous whistleblower whose detailed complaint launched an impeachment investigation into President Donald Trump.
The announcement from Schiff came on the same day that Tom Bossert, a former Trump homeland security adviser, delivered a rebuke of the president, saying in an interview on ABC’s “This Week” that he was “deeply disturbed” by the implications of Trump’s recently reported actions.
Those comments come as members of Congress return to their districts for a two-week recess, during which they will either make the case for Trump’s impeachment or defend him to voters amid mounting questions about his conduct.
In appearances over the weekend, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-San Francisco, offered a preview of the Democratic message, casting the impeachment inquiry as a somber task that she chose to endorse only as a last resort.
“I have handled this with great care, with great moderation, with great attention to what we knew was a fact or what was an allegation,” Pelosi said Saturday at the Texas Tribune Festival in Austin. “This is very bad news for our country, because if as it seems to be, our president engaged in something that is so far beyond what our founders had in mind.”
While privately favoring a rapid probe confined to the Ukraine allegations, Pelosi said Saturday the investigation would last “as long as the Intelligence Committee follows the facts.”
In an appearance on ABC News’s “This Week,” Schiff, D-Burbank, echoed Pelosi’s message. He also said he expected the Intelligence Committee to hear from the whistleblower “very soon,” pending a security clearance from acting director of national intelligence Joseph Maguire.
“We’ll get the unfiltered testimony of that whistleblower,” Schiff said, noting that Maguire said in a hearing Thursday that he would allow the whistleblower to testify privately without constraints.
One of the whistleblower’s attorneys, Mark Zaid, said in a statement that bipartisan negotiations in both chambers are ongoing “and we understand all agree that protecting whistleblower’s identity is paramount.” He added that no date or time for the testimony has been set.
Most Republican lawmakers and White House aides, meanwhile, continued to voice support for the president, even as they faced grilling by hosts on Sunday morning news shows over their efforts to discredit the unidentified whistleblower and keep the focus on former vice president Joe Biden and his son Hunter Biden.
Rep. Jim Jordan, R-Ohio, pointed to an initial finding by the intelligence community inspector general stating that while the complaint was credible, the whistleblower had an “arguable political bias.”
“He had no firsthand knowledge. . . . And, second, he has a political bias,’’ Jordan said on CNN’s “State of the Union.” “That should tell us something about this guy who came forward with this claim.”
Host Jake Tapper repeatedly pushed back against Jordan’s assertions. “There is no evidence of that,” he said in response to Jordan’s claim of political bias, noting that the language used by the inspector general in describing the whistleblower “could mean that he interned for John McCain 20 years ago. We have no idea what it means.”
White House senior adviser Stephen Miller went even further in an at-times heated interview on “Fox News Sunday.”