Republicans Motion to Subpoena Whistleblower

November 13, 2019 Updated: November 13, 2019

GOP lawmakers on Nov. 13 motioned to subpoena the person who filed a complaint against President Donald Trump over his July phone call with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky.

Rep. Mike Conaway (R-Texas) asked House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff (D-Calif.) to make a motion and then requested the committee subpoena the whistleblower to testify to the committee in a closed-door hearing.

“I seek recognition to make a motion that we actually subpoena the whistleblower for a closed-door, secret deposition so that the questions that should be appropriately asked of the whistleblower, by our side and your side, should be asked. And I would prefer that rather than it be your single decision that the committee speak to that issue, rather than just the chairman. And I move that we subpoena the whistleblower,” Conaway said.

“It won’t be my single decision. We will entertain a motion to subpoena any witness, but after the witnesses have an opportunity to testify,” Schiff said.  “That motion will be in order. That motion will be suspended until after the witnesses testify.”

House Intelligence Chairman Adam Schiff (D-Calif.), left, looks past ranking member Devin Nunes (R-Calif.) and a committee attorney at newly installed Republican committee member Rep. Jim Jordan (R-Ohio) at the start of the first open House Intelligence Committee impeachment inquiry hearing into U.S. President Donald Trump on Capitol Hill in Washington on Nov. 13, 2019. (Jonathan Ernst/Reuters)
The spiral staircase down to House Intelligence Committee rooms can be seen reflected over the Capitol Dome ahead of Trump impeachment inquiry testimony by Ambassador Bill Taylor, charge d’affaires at the U.S. embassy in Ukraine and George Kent, deputy assistant secretary of state for European and Eurasian Affairs, before a House Intelligence Committee hearing on Capitol Hill in Washington on Nov. 13, 2019. (Jonathan Ernst/Reuters)

Rep. Jim Jordan (R-Ohio), who was recently moved onto the committee, then asked Schiff: “Do you anticipate when we might vote on the ability to have the whistleblower in front of us, something you, out of 435 members of congress, you are the only member who knows who that individual is, and your staff is the only staff of any member of Congress that has had a chance to talk to that individual. We would like that opportunity. When might that happen in this proceeding today?”

“As the member knows, that’s a false statement,” Schiff responded. “I do not know the identity of the whistleblower and I’m determined to make sure that identity is protected.”

Schiff initially said the whistleblower should testify but reversed his stance after it was reported his staff had contact with the person before the complaint was filed, which Schiff later confirmed.

“You’ll have an opportunity after the witnesses testify to subpoena any witness and compel a vote,” Schiff added on Wednesday.

Because Democrats hold the House, party members chair all the committees and have the majority on all committees, meaning a vote on the motion is not likely to pass.

Follow Zachary on Twitter: @zackstieber