In an interview on Sunday, Senate Judiciary Committee chairman Lindsey Graham (R-SC) said whistleblowers who have come forward as a part of the impeachment inquiry should have to testify in public. A second whistleblower—who is said to have direct knowledge of the events described the first whistleblower—came forward Sunday morning, adding a chilling edge to Graham’s proclamation.
Fox News’ Sunday Morning Futures host Maria Bartiromo asked if Graham would subpoena the whistleblowers as leader of the Judiciary Committee. Graham insisted on a public testimony from the whistleblower, who is scheduled to privately testify in front of the House Intelligence Committee soon. (Depositions from other key players are also being taken while Congress enjoys a recess, USA Today reported.)
“Here’s what going to happen: If the whistleblower’s allegations are turned into an impeachment article, it’s imperative that the whistleblower be interviewed in public, under oath and cross-examined. Nobody in America goes to jail or has anything done to them without confronting their accuser,” Graham said. “So here’s what I’m going to insist upon: If the whistleblower, one or two, whatever, they come forward, under oath, testify so the public can judge their credibility. If that doesn’t happen in the House, I will make sure it will happen in the Senate.”
Whistleblower legislation is set up so citizens can make “a protected disclosure” without retaliation, said Mark Zaid, the lawyer representing both whistleblowers.
Throwing down a gauntlet that says whistleblowers will be required to publicly testify sure seems like an intimidation tactic. While whistleblowers can publicly disclose their identities, it’s not required to come forward with information about bad actions by the government. It’s definitely a great sign that the person leading an important Senate committee believes the opposite.