Complainant willing to answer Republican questions, says lawyer
WASHINGTON: The whistleblower who warned about President Donald Trump's dealings with Ukraine and triggered the impeachment investigation led by the Democrats is willing to answer written questions presented by House Republicans, says the person's lawyer.
The offer made over the weekend to Rep. Devin Nunes, the main Republican on the intelligence committee, was partly aimed at preventing the growing attacks of Trump and his Republican allies that demand the identity of the complainant be revealed.
It would allow Republicans to ask the complainant questions without having to go through the committee chairman, Representative Adam Schiff, a California Democrat.
Being a whistleblower is not partisan work or a political trial is an objective. That is not our role, the lawyer tweeted Sunday.
We will ensure timely responses, he said.
Zaid said the complainant would answer questions directly from Republican members in writing, under oath and penalty of perjury. He said that only inquiries that seek the identity of the person will not be answered.
The Nunes office had no immediate comments.
The surprise proposal comes when Trump intensified the attacks on the complainant for lack of credibility, tweeting on Sunday that the person must appear. pressured Zelenskiy to investigate Trump's political rivals.
The second-hand account of the complainant's call has been providing a road map for House Democrats who are investigating whether the president and others in his orbit pressured Ukraine to investigate political opponents, including the former vice president. Joe biden .
Democrats are heading to a crucial phase of their political trial investigation as they attempt to move towards political trial hearings later this month. In the next week, 11 witnesses have been called, including Energy Secretary Rick Perry and former National Security Advisor John Bolton for closed-door interviews. It is not clear if any of them will come to Capitol Hill.
Reveal the complainant and end the accusation deception! Trump tweeted on Sunday.
The Complainant was so mistaken that HE must appear. False media know who he is, but, being an ar ... https://t.co/NLuyUNTaFd - Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) 1572791625000
Later, Trump pressured the media to divulge the identity of the complainant, stating that the accounting of the person's events is incorrect. The denunciation of the complainants has been corroborated by people with first-hand knowledge of the events that have appeared on Capitol Hill.
They know who it is. You know who is. You just don't want to report it, Trump told reporters at the White House. And you know that you would be providing a public service if you did. ''
There are US laws to report irregularities to protect the identity and careers of people who file accusations of irregularities by government officials. Legislators of both parties have historically backed those protections.
The Associated Press generally does not reveal the identity of the complainants.
The whistleblower has become a central fixation for Republicans, and in particular for the president. Republicans see a political opportunity to unmask the CIA official, whom the inspector general of the intelligence community said could have a debatable political bias. However, the inspector general considered that the complainant's complaint was credible.
The president believes that if he can expose prejudices in the initial accusations against him, he can paint all the political trial investigation he launched as a partisan political investigation. Up to this point, Republicans have largely fought the investigation of political judgment about the process, not the merits, believing it was contaminated because interviews were held in closed sessions ignoring that Republican lawmakers attended and complaining that the president of the House of Representatives, Nancy Pelosi, had not called a vote to launch the import.
But Pelosi called that vote last week and the investigation will soon become open hearings. Now, Trump is demanding that his allies defend their actions, insisting that he did nothing wrong and arguing that quid pro quos like the one he supposedly offered to Ukraine are common facts while harnessing power in the conduct of foreign policy.
The minority leader of the House of Representatives, Kevin McCarthy, a Republican for California, said Sunday that he had not yet discussed the complainant's offer with Nunes, but stressed that the person should answer questions in a public appearance before the committee.
When talking about the removal of the president of the United States, undo democracy , undoing what the American public had voted, I think that person should appear before the committee, '' McCarthy said CBS Face the nation.
We need an opening for people to understand this, he added.
Zaid said his team had addressed the issue of alleged prejudices with the Republican members of the committee and emphasized the need to maintain anonymity to maintain the safety of the complainant and the family of that person, `` but with little effect on stopping attacks. ''
Let me be absolutely clear: our willingness to cooperate has not changed, tweeted Andrew P. Bakaj, another lawyer representing the complainant. However, what we object and find offensive is the effort to discover the identity of The Complainant. ''
Bakaj wrote on Saturday that his fixation for exposing the identity of the complainant is simply because they do not know how to address the investigations that caused the underlying disclosure.