Whistleblower’s Offer to Answer Written Questions Should be Rejected: Trump

By Zachary Stieber
Zachary Stieber
Zachary Stieber
Zachary Stieber covers U.S. news, including politics and court cases. He started at The Epoch Times as a New York City metro reporter.
November 4, 2019 Updated: November 4, 2019

President Donald Trump and Republican lawmakers on Oct. 4 criticized an offer from the lawyer representing the anonymous whistleblower who triggered the impeachment inquiry for the whistleblower to answer written questions from Republicans.

One of the lawyers representing the whistleblower—whose identity still hasn’t been confirmed—said on Nov. 3 that the legal team “offered GOP [the] direct opportunity to ask written questions of [the] whistleblower.”

“We have directly engaged GOP as to the irrelevance of the whistleblower’s information and identity (including addressing any issue of bias), but with little effect in halting the attacks. Btw, countless OIG complaints are filed anonymously & full of hearsay. It’s common,” Mark Zaid, the lawyer, wrote on Twitter.

“We offered HPSCI (and SSCI), both Majority & Minority, to have [the] whistleblower answer questions in writing, under oath & penalty of perjury. Obviously, per House rules GOP is beholden to [the] Dems. We, however, are not.”

Zaid said the offer was made to Rep. Devin Nunes (R-Calif.), a ranking member of the House Intelligence Committee. Questions seeking the identity of the whistleblower would not be answered, Zaid said.

President Donald Trump weighed in early on Oct. 4, writing on Twitter: “The Whistleblower gave false information & dealt with corrupt politician Schiff. He must be brought forward to testify. Written answers not acceptable! Where is the 2nd Whistleblower? He disappeared after I released the transcript. Does he even exist? Where is the informant? Con!”

Reps. Paul Gosar (R-Ariz.) and Jim Jordan (R-Ohio) also opposed the offer of written testimony.

“If the whistleblower has the guts to coordinate with Adam Schiff in a conspiracy to overthrow the duly elected President of the United States, then he or she should have the guts to answer questions in person,” Gosar said in a statement email to The Epoch Times.

“President Trump and his legal team have a right to directly address and question their accuser.”

Jordan said in a statement the day prior: “Written answers will not provide a sufficient opportunity to probe all the relevant facts and cross-examine the so-called whistleblower. You don’t get to ignite an impeachment effort and never account for your actions and role in orchestrating it.

“We have serious questions about this individual’s political bias and partisan motivations, and it seems Mark Zaid and Adam Schiff are attempting to hide these facts from public scrutiny. Last week’s testimony raised even more concerns about the anonymous whistleblower and our need to hear from them in person.”

Zaid responded, “We will protect [the] whistleblower’s identity, not only for their own sake but also for all future whistleblowers.”

House Intelligence Chairman Adam Schiff (D-Calif.), who is heading the impeachment inquiry, for weeks said that he was arranging for the whistleblower to testify to Congress.

But after it was discovered Schiff’s staff had contact with the person before the complaint was filed, Schiff seemed to change his mind and began saying it wasn’t necessary for the whistleblower to testify.

Schiff has said he regrets claiming on national television, “We have not spoken directly to the whistleblower,” which many took as him saying neither he nor his staff had had contact with the person.

Schiff, a main proponent of the Trump–Russia collusion theory, also fabricated a portion of the transcript of the call between Trump and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky while chairing a hearing.

Trump and leading Republicans have pushed for the disclosure of the whistleblower’s name.

Speaking to reporters on Nov. 3, Trump said: “They know who it is. You know who it is. You just don’t want to report it. You know you’d be doing the public a service if you did.”

At least one report has claimed to identify the person, but The Epoch Times has been unable to corroborate that identity.

Ivan Pentchoukov contributed to this report.

Zachary Stieber
Zachary Stieber
Zachary Stieber covers U.S. news, including politics and court cases. He started at The Epoch Times as a New York City metro reporter.