House Intelligence Chairman Adam Schiff (D-Calif.) recently indicated that the whistleblower at the heart of the entire impeachment inquiry would not testify because the individual’s testimony would be “redundant and unnecessary.”
While Schiff’s decision was predictable, his justification is without merit and completely misses the mark.
House Republicans have expressed a desire to question the alleged whistleblower under oath. However, according to Schiff, there is already an “ever-growing body of evidence–from witnesses and documents, including the President’s own words in his July 25 call record” that makes the whistleblower’s appearance unnecessary.
Schiff, a lawyer, knows very well that the entire case rests on the testimony of the alleged whistleblower. After all, it was the whistleblower who made the allegations in the initial whistleblower complaint. It was the whistleblower who met with members of Schiff’s staff before filing the complaint. It was the whistleblower who, based on recent reporting, had a strong dislike for the president and whose lawyer, Mark Zaid, predicted a “coup” against President Donald Trump and promised to “get rid of him” in 2017.
Notwithstanding, Schiff argues that the whistleblower’s testimony is not necessary because it can somehow be “corroborated” by way of other witnesses and documents and by the transcript of the president’s July 25 telephone call with the president of Ukraine. This argument is flawed for several reasons.
First, and foremost, the president is entitled to due process and the right to confront his accuser. By refusing to allow this individual to testify, Schiff is violating this fundamental right.
Second, Schiff’s position presupposes that the allegations in the whistleblower’s complaint are true, that the testimony of those who have testified behind closed doors is true, and that all members of the House would deem it to be true, thereby eliminating the need to question the alleged whistleblower, whose testimony would be superfluous.
This argument is erroneous for several reasons. First, Schiff has retained complete control over which witnesses may testify and what questions House Republicans may ask. Therefore, it’s impossible to properly gauge their veracity and/or credibility.
Second, House Republicans have not had the chance to cross-examine the whistleblower. How, then, can Schiff seriously claim that the information elicited by such questioning would be redundant and unnecessary? This conclusion is simply premature and erroneous (unless the stories were somehow rehearsed ahead of time?).
Contrary to Schiff’s erroneous position, there are many questions that have not been addressed and that the whistleblower should clarify.
For example, House Republicans would undoubtedly ask the whistleblower about the alleged initial meeting with members of Schiff’s staff, what was discussed, who was privy to their conversation, when they first discussed the Ukraine matter, and why this individual failed to check off the appropriate box indicating that he/she had met with one or more members of Schiff’s staff and concealed these interactions from the Intelligence Community Inspector General.
They would also likely ask him how he feels about the president, whether he had a relationship with members of the previous administration, Joe Biden, or John Brennan (and the extent thereof), and the nature of his relationship with Ukraine.
By way of these important and relevant questions, Republicans could expose serious flaws in the whistleblower’s rendition of events and/or the allegations in the complaint. Contrary to Schiff’s conclusion, these questions are not redundant or unnecessary and directly relate to such issues as the alleged whistleblower’s “sources” of information, potential bias, state of mind, and credibility.
While other selective witnesses that Schiff chooses to call may support the whistleblower’s allegations, their testimony should serve to supplement, not replace, the whistleblower’s live testimony. In this case, the whistleblower’s testimony is necessary and cannot simply be “replaced” by way of other witness testimony and/or documents.
Here, the whistleblower had no firsthand knowledge of the allegations in the complaint. As a matter of fact, the complaint would have been invalid under the “old” rules governing whistleblower complaints.
As Sean Davis reported in The Federalist, “Between May 2018 and August 2019, the intelligence community secretly eliminated a requirement that whistleblowers provide direct, first-hand knowledge of alleged wrongdoings.”
As Davis also pointed out:
“The Ukraine call complaint against Trump is riddled not with evidence directly witnessed by the complainant, but with repeated references to what anonymous officials allegedly told the complainant: ‘I have received information from multiple U.S. Government officials,’ ‘officials have informed me,’ ‘officials with direct knowledge of the call informed me,’ ‘the White House officials who told me this information,’ ‘I was told by White House officials,’ ‘the officials I spoke with,’ ‘I was told that a State Department official,’ ‘I learned from multiple U.S. officials,’ ‘One White House official described this act,’ ‘Based on multiple readouts of these meetings recounted to me,’ ‘I also learned from multiple U.S. officials,’ ‘The U.S. officials characterized this meeting,’ ‘multiple U.S. officials told me,’ ‘I learned from U.S. officials,’ ‘I also learned from a U.S. official,’ ‘several U.S. officials told me,’ ‘I heard from multiple U.S. officials,’ and ‘multiple U.S. officials told me.’”
Who are these people and what did they allegedly say? What information did they allegedly pass to the whistleblower, and when? Why did they choose to share their alleged concerns with this specific individual? House Republicans have the right to demand answers to these questions, which are not redundant or unnecessary.
Schiff’s refusal to allow such questioning should be viewed as another attempt to prevent Republicans from discovering the truth by questioning the individual who put the entire impeachment inquiry into motion.
There is nothing redundant or unnecessary about questioning the whistleblower under oath. While steps should be taken to ensure this individual’s wellbeing, the fate of a duly elected president should not be allowed to rest on the uncorroborated words of an alleged whistleblower and a farcical and one-sided impeachment inquiry.
Elad Hakim is a writer, commentator, and attorney. His articles have been published in The Washington Examiner, The Daily Caller, The Federalist, The Algemeiner, The Western Journal, American Thinker, and other online publications.
Views expressed in this article are the opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of The Epoch Times.