The lawyer of the whistleblower who reported concerns about President Donald Trump’s dealings with Ukraine said he would allow Republicans on the House Intelligence Committee to submit questions to his client without having to go through the Democrats.
Attorney Mark Zaid told CBS News on Nov. 3 that he communicated with Rep. Devin Nunes (R-Calif.) on Nov. 2, saying the whistleblower is willing to answer questions under oath submitted by Republicans, if they submit written questions to his legal team.
Zaid said that the inspector general of the intelligence community could verify the identity of the whistleblower and protect his anonymity.
“So we have offered to @DevinNunes, Ranking HPSCI Member, opportunity for Minority to submit through legal team written questions to WBer,” he also wrote on Twitter. “Qs cannot seek identifying info, regarding which we will not provide, or otherwise be inappropriate. We will ensure timely answers.”
Nunes hasn’t issued a public comment about the matter.
Republicans have complained that the impeachment inquiry in the Democratic-led House of Representatives has been unfair to them and that they’ve been restricted in their questioning of witnesses.
They’ve said that the whistleblower’s anonymity undermines the credibility of the complaint and interpretation of the call between Trump and Ukraine’s president on July 25, which has become the focal point of the impeachment inquiry.
News of the whistleblower’s report prompted House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) in September to begin the initial inquiry into impeachment. Last week, a sharply divided House voted on a resolution to authorize how the inquiry will proceed.
Trump has repeatedly suggested that the whistleblower should be identified.
In a statement on Oct. 31, lawyers representing the anonymous person said that reporters should protect the identity of the whistleblower.
“Our client is legally entitled to anonymity,” the lawyers told the Wall Street Journal. “Disclosure of the name of any person who may be suspected to be the whistleblower places that individual and their family in great physical danger.”
Last month, House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff (D-Calif.) said that the whistleblower’s testimony might not be needed.
“Given that we already have the call record, we don’t need the whistleblower, who wasn’t on the call, to tell us what took place during the call,” Schiff told CBS on Oct. 13. “We have the best evidence of that.”
Meanwhile, Pelosi told Bloomberg TV that open hearings might start in November. She didn’t elaborate.
“I don’t know what the timetable will be—the truth will set us free,” she said. “We have not made any decisions on if the president will be impeached.”