Schiff-Pelosi tag-team presser blasts Trump’s right to face accuser as “blatant effort to intimidate witness”

(Photo by Win McNamee/Getty Images)

House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff slammed President Trump’s remarks about meeting the whistleblower who filed a complaint against him that is now a central part of the Democrats’ impeachment inquiry.

Schiff spoke to reporters at a press conference with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi on Wednesday, essentially denying the president’s right to know who the accuser is behind the complaint about his July phone call with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky.

(Video: Twitter)

“The president wants to make this all about the whistleblower and suggest people that come forward with evidence of his wrongdoing are somehow treasonous,” the California congressman said, calling out Trump’s comments and recent tweets.

“This is a blatant effort to intimidate witnesses. It’s an incitement to violence,” he said.

Trump tweeted that he deserved to meet with his “accuser” who characterized the phone call in a “totally inaccurate and fraudulent way,” accusing the president of pressuring Zelensky into investigating former Vice President Joe Biden and his son Hunter Biden’s business dealings in the country.

Schiff announced on Sunday that the whistleblower agreed to testify before the committee and would be doing so “very soon.” The complaint gave fuel to Democrats in their pursuit of taking down the president and led to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s announcement last week of a formal impeachment inquiry.

Trump blasted Schiff for his much-criticized theatrics at a House Intelligence Committee hearing last week as he fabricated a conversation between Trump and the Ukraine leader rather than directly read the released transcript of the call.

An intelligence whistleblower has protection under the Intelligence Community Whistleblower Protection Act, passed by Congress in 1998. Employees are protected, so long as they follow protocol, when reporting misconduct and guaranteed that classified information is not exposed.

The president noted that his “accuser” got the information about the call through “SECOND & THIRD HAND INFORMATION,” and said he also wanted to meet with whoever “illegally” gave the information.

“Was this person SPYING on the U.S. President? Big Consequences!” he tweeted.

Schiff also warned Trump and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo about any attempts to block witnesses from testifying to Congress.

“If they are going to prevent witnesses from coming forward from testifying… that will create an adverse inference that those allegations are in fact correct,” he said, warning that any attempts to “stonewall” Congress “will be considered further evidence of obstruction of justice.”

Pompeo had accused Democrats of “bullying” State Department officials and said in a press conference from Rome on Wednesday that, though they would  “of course do our constitutional duty to cooperate” with Congress, that he wouldn’t “tolerate” the intimidation.

“That’s unacceptable, and it’s not something that I’m going to permit to happen,” Pompeo said.

House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy has had enough of Schiff’s political games and announced Wednesday that he has signed a resolution to censure him.

The White House responded to the press conference in a tweet declaring the “witch hunt continues” as others slammed the Democrat as well.

 

Frieda Powers

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