The person who filed a complaint against President Donald Trump for allegedly pressuring Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky to investigative former Democratic Vice President Joe Biden is being represented by a lawyer who once worked for two top Democrats, including Trump’s 2016 opponent, Hillary Clinton.
Andrew Bakaj, who currently works as a managing partner at Compass Rose Legal Group, was an intern for longtime Democratic senator and current Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.). Bakaj also worked for Clinton when she was a senator, and late Sen. Daniel Patrick Moynihan (D-N.Y.) and had stints with the Department of State and the CIA.
During his time with the Department of State, Bakaj worked at the U.S. Embassy in Kyiv. “While traveling on official business in L’viv, Ukraine, he was called upon to act as the American Official ‘on scene’ and assist in the U.S. Government’s response to one of the world’s deadliest air show disasters, which resulted in substantial American aid,” according to his official biography.
Bakaj is part of the Law Office of Mark Zaid. Zaid has been vocal in his opposition to Trump, as has Bakaj. Zaid is serving as co-counsel for the person who filed the complaint.
We have been informed by the whistleblower’s counsel that their client would like to speak to our committee and has requested guidance from the Acting DNI as to how to do so.
We‘re in touch with counsel and look forward to the whistleblower’s testimony as soon as this week.
— Adam Schiff (@RepAdamSchiff) September 24, 2019
The so-called anonymous whistleblower, who reportedly did not have direct knowledge of the phone call between Trump and Zelensky, may testify to the House Intelligence Committee this week, according to Chairman Adam Schiff (D-Calif.).
Zaid told The Washingtonian that the lawyers for the person do not want his or her identity ever made public.
“It’s not about the whistleblower. It’s about the allegation,” he said. “If the whistleblower can remain anonymous and the allegations are investigated properly, it means the system worked.”
The lawyers sent a letter to Acting Director of National Intelligence Joseph Maguire, alerting him that they were going to contract congressional committees about the complaint. In a letter back (pdf), Jason Klitenic, general counsel of the director’s office, said that the complaint “does not fall within the statutory definition of an ‘urgent concern’ set forth in U.S. code.”
Klitenic said that “because your client’s complaint involves confidential and potentially privileged communications by persons outside of the Intelligence Community, we are consulting with other Executive Branch stakeholders before transmitting to you the guidance sought.”
The connection between Bakaj, Clinton, and Schumer was reported by other outlets, including The Federalist. President Trump shared the online magazine’s article about the connection on Twitter.
Some Republicans wondered about the connection, including Rep. Mark Walker (R-N.C.).
“Let me get this straight: the whistleblower (leaker) had no firsthand knowledge of the call and was just spreading a rumor? And now is being represented by an attorney who had to leave the CIA after a ‘whistleblower’ incident and has the names Schumer and Clinton on his resume?” Walker said in a post on Twitter.
Let me get this straight: the whistleblower (leaker) had no firsthand knowledge of the call and was just spreading a rumor?
And now is being represented by an attorney who had to leave the CIA after a “whistleblower” incident and has the names Schumer and Clinton on his resume?
— Rep. Mark Walker (@RepMarkWalker) September 24, 2019
“This seems about as reputable as the DNC-funded dossier or the latest Kavanaugh propaganda.”