President Donald Trump on Monday rejected an offer by the lawyer for the anonymous whistleblower at the center of House Democrats’ impeachment inquiry to submit written answers to questions from Republican lawmakers.
“The Whistleblower gave false information & dealt with corrupt politician Schiff,” Trump wrote on Twitter, referring to House Intelligence Chairman Adam Schiff (D-Calif.), one of the leaders of the impeachment probe.
“He must be brought forward to testify,” the president continued. “Written answers not acceptable!”
Attorney Mark Zaid, the whistleblower’s attorney, said Sunday that he had contacted Rep. Devin Nunes (R-Calif.), the ranking member of the House Intelligence Committee, to offer Republican members of that panel the opportunity to submit written questions to his client’s legal team.
The whistleblower would respond to those queries under oath and penalty of perjury, Zaid said — attempting to undercut Republican complaints regarding a lack of transparency in the Democratic-led impeachment process and to blunt skepticism toward the unknown intelligence official’s allegations.
House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) said Sunday that he was not aware of Zaid’s proposal, and while he did not say he would refuse the opportunity to provide written questions, he stressed that the whistleblower “should come before the committee.”
Trump and his Republican allies have regularly attacked the whistleblower — whose identity has not been publicly confirmed — as a politically motivated individual who did not have firsthand knowledge of Trump’s July 25 phone call in which he pressured the newly elected Ukrainian president to investigate his political rivals. However, a rough transcript of the call released by the White House largely backs up the whistleblower’s claims.
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