House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff confirmed on Sunday that the whistleblower who denounced President Donald Trump’s inappropriate phone call with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky will appear before the committee to testify “very soon.”
Appearing on ABC News’ This Week, Schiff said the whistleblower would appear with their attorneys, but not “minders” from either the Justice Department or the White House.
“We’ll get the unfiltered testimony of that whistleblower,” said Schiff, who has so far taken the lead on the recently announced impeachment inquiry of Trump.
He added that the committee was “taking all the precautions” they can to ensure the testimony moves forward “in a way that protects the whistleblower’s identity,” given that the president recently called that person a “spy” and insinuated that they should be shot to death.
“You know what we used to do in the old days when we were smart? Right? The spies and treason, we used to handle it a little differently than we do now,” Trump told a room full of staff members of the U.S. Mission to the United Nations on Thursday.
Rather than a joke, that comment is being widely interpreted as a threat, and adding to the sensitivity of the situation, The New York Times reported the same day various details about the whistleblower, including that the person works for the CIA and was detailed to work at the White House. The decision to publish those details prompted another round of angry readers saying they planned to cancel their subscriptions to the newspaper.
Some legal analysts believe the president’s bizarre, mob-like comment is further evidence of witness tampering and obstruction of justice. It also is unfathomable that the president made such comments to U.N. staffers, of all people.
The House Intelligence Committee, along with the committees on Foreign Affairs and Oversight, also has subpoenaed Secretary of State Mike Pompeo for a series of Ukraine-related documents requested by the committees more than two weeks ago. And lawmakers leading the impeachment inquiry have scheduled five depositions with State Department officials who likely have knowledge of Trump’s role in the scandal with Ukraine.
Democrats intend to depose former U.S. ambassador to Ukraine Marie Yovanovitch — who was removed by Trump and criticized by the president in the call with Zelensky — U.S. ambassador Kurt Volker, who facilitated some of [Rudy] Giuliani’s contacts with Ukrainian officials; deputy assistant secretary George Kent, Counselor T. Ulrich Brechbuhl and Ambassador Gordon Sondland. The depositions are set to take place between Oct. 2 and Oct. 10, while Congress is out on a two-week recess.
Volker, who was mentioned in the whistleblower complaint and later thrown under the bus by Rudy Giuliani, resigned on Friday.
Stay tuned, folks, the impeachment inquiry is just getting started.