Republican and Democratic lawmakers were at odds and even took part in a shouting match on Tuesday about questions and concerns on the identity of the whistleblower who made the complaint about President Trump’s phone call with Ukraine that started the current impeachment investigation.
The recent clash of the parties indicates that the dispute between the two sides is continuing to grow, as Republicans are frustrated with the Democrats’ secretive behavior when it comes to the whistleblower’s identity. The GOP says they need to know the identity and hear from the intelligence official who made the complaint about the president’s alleged attempts to get Ukraine to investigate the Bidens’ in order to properly determine the whistleblower’s credibility.
Meanwhile, Democrats indicate that the whistleblower’s testimony is no longer needed because the accusations made against the president have already been corroborated by other witnesses. They contend that exposing their identity at this point would put the whistleblower’s safety at risk.
According to sources close to the situation, there are five possible names that are being considered as to the whistleblower’s identity. The Republicans’ intent to discover the identity is not to publicly reveal who the whistleblower is, but to accurately assess his or her motivations.
“It’s tough to determine someone’s credibility if you can’t put them under oath and ask them questions,” Republican Representative Jim Jordan told reporters.
Schiff accused the president and his allies of seeking to “out,” or reveal the identity of, the whistleblower and said that he and his committee will not allow that to happen.
In fact, in a closed-door deposition Tuesday, Democratic lawmakers accused Republicans of trying to trick a key witness into helping them identify the whistleblower. Democrats insisted that Republicans were getting witnesses to confirm or deny that an official was privy to the information that led to the complaint. They said that this would help Republicans narrow down the list of people on their shortlist that they suspected as being the whistleblower.
“We will make every effort to make sure that notwithstanding the president or his allies’ desire to out and exact political revenge on this whistleblower, that our committee is never used for that purpose,” Schiff told reporters.
Rep. Jim Jordan is one of several Republican lawmakers who questioned the witness that started the heated confrontation during the deposition, and denied that this was the reason behind his line of questioning and that of other Republicans. He said that he and his colleagues want to know who the witness had been speaking to in order to better access the credibility.
At this point, attorneys for the whistleblower have advised congressional investigators that their client is only interested in answering written questions. As this is unacceptable to Republicans, it is probably safe to say that the confrontations are far from being over when it comes to the identity of the whistleblower.