- Rep. Devin Nunes, the ranking member on the House Intelligence Committee, spent his questioning time in Tuesday’s impeachment hearing trying to get the witnesses to reveal the identity of the whistleblower.
- Lt. Col. Alexander Vindman, a National Security Council official, testified alongside Jennifer Williams, a State Department official in Vice President Mike Pence’s office.
- The whistleblower’s identity remains unknown, but they have been identified in reports as a CIA officer previously detailed to the White House who learned of the unusual Trump-Ukraine call through secondhand information.
- Rep. Adam Schiff, the House Intelligence Committee chairman, shut down Nunes’ line of questioning, saying that “the whistleblower has the statutory right to anonymity.”
- Follow along with our live coverage of the hearings here.
- Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.
In Tuesday morning’s public hearing in the impeachment inquiry, the top Republican on the House Intelligence Committee, Rep. Devin Nunes, spent his questioning time trying to get the witnesses to reveal the identity of the whistleblower who filed a complaint about President Donald Trump.
Lt. Col. Alexander Vindman, a National Security Council official, testified alongside Jennifer Williams, a State Department official in Vice President Mike Pence’s office.
In early September, an anonymous whistleblower complaint lodged by a member of the intelligence community said that in a series of events culminating in a July 25 call with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, Trump used “the power of his office to solicit interference from a foreign country in the 2020 U.S. election.”
The complaint detailed concerns that Trump, days after withholding a nearly $US400 million military-aid package, used the call with Zelensky to pressure the Ukrainian government to investigate former Vice President Joe Biden and his son Hunter.
Vindman and Williams, who both listened in on the July 25 call, testified that they believed it was highly unusual and improper for the president to ask a foreign leader to investigate a political opponent.
After attacking the media in his opening statement, Nunes repeatedly pressed Vindman and Williams about whether they “know any individual who discussed the substance of the July 25 phone call or any matter associated with the call with any member of the press” or others. Both said no, and Vindman emphasised that he does not deal with the press at all in his capacity as an Army foreign area officer assigned to the NSC.
The whistleblower’s identity is still unknown, but they have been identified in reports as a CIA officer previously detailed to the White House who learned of the unusual Trump-Ukraine call through secondhand information, leading them to file a complaint with the intelligence community’s inspector general.
The whistleblower’s complaint has been corroborated by the White House’s summary notes of the July 25 call, White House officials themselves, and the sworn testimony of several career diplomatic and national-security officials.
When Nunes further pressed Vindman about whether he had discussed the contents of the call with any member of the intelligence community, Nunes was shut down by Rep. Adam Schiff, the committee’s chairman.
“The whistleblower has the statutory right to anonymity. These proceedings will not be used to out the whistleblower,” Schiff said.
Trump and Republican members of Congress have hammered on the identity of the whistleblower and used the claim that the whistleblower is biased against Trump and even working in coordination with the Democrats as a way of discrediting the impeachment inquiry altogether.
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- The GOP’s defences in the Trump impeachment inquiry are about to blow up in spectacular fashion this week
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