Rep. Jim Jordan appeared to reject an offer from the lawyer for the anonymous whistleblower to provide written answers to questions from House Republicans.
The Ohio Republican noted in a statement on Sunday that, in light of the GOP’s “serious questions” about the whistleblower’s “bias” and “motivation,” written answers to questions would “not provide a sufficient opportunity to probe all the relevant facts and cross examine the so-called whistleblower.”
“You don’t get to ignite an impeachment effort and never account for your actions and role in orchestrating it,” Jordan said.
One of the lawyers for the whistleblower, who sparked an impeachment inquiry of President Trump after raising an alarm about his July phone call with the leader of Ukraine, called Jordan’s response a “deliberate deflection.”
Congressman Jordan’s statement highlights his misunderstanding of fed WBer laws & protections. Notwithstanding WBer’s offer to rise above partisanship, he responds w/deliberate deflection & disinformation. https://t.co/uwkGn6C8Ao
— Mark S. Zaid (@MarkSZaidEsq) November 4, 2019
Zaid had reached out to the ranking member of the House Intelligence Committee, GOP California Rep. Devin Nunes, to allow his client to provide responses, under oath, to written questions, bypassing the committee’s chairman, Rep. Adam Schiff, D-Calif.
Whistleblower is willing to give written answers to House Republicans https://t.co/9JPFVtHKLo
— Conservative News (@BIZPACReview) November 3, 2019
“Obviously, per House rules GOP is beholden to DEMs,” Zaid tweeted. “We, however, are not.”
4/We offered HPSCI (& SSCI), both Majority & Minority, to have #whistleblower answer questions in writing, under oath & penalty of perjury. Obviously, per House rules GOP is beholden to DEMs.
We, however, are not.
— Mark S. Zaid (@MarkSZaidEsq) November 3, 2019
The offer was to let the whistleblower answer questions directly from House Republicans “in writing, under oath & penalty of perjury,” according to the attorney, a long-time critic of the president. However, he noted that no questions about “identifying info” would be answered.
6/So we have offered to @DevinNunes, Ranking HPSCI Member, opportunity for Minority to submit through legal team written questions to WBer. Qs cannot seek identifying info, regarding which we will not provide, or otherwise be inappropriate. We will ensure timely answers.
— Mark S. Zaid (@MarkSZaidEsq) November 3, 2019
Jordan slammed the process during an interview with Fox News’ Maria Bartiromo on “Sunday Morning Futures.”
“435 Members of Congress, only one knows who the whistleblower is. Adam Schiff. How is that fair? None of the rest of us get to know… The American people don’t get to know.” –@Jim_Jordan pic.twitter.com/ZcxtFopfvk
— GOP (@GOP) November 4, 2019
Jordan’s statement on the offer may not have been speaking for Nunes, but it seems there is some disagreement in the GOP ranks about whether lawmakers need to meet with the whistleblower directly or not.
“If we want to understand fully what happened, then talking to that individual, talking to their lawyers —when they started to guide their interactions, who they interacted with — may be more expansive than what we know,” Committee Chairman Richard Burr told The Hill last week. “We don’t know until we talk to the whistleblower.”
But Texas Sen. John Cornyn seems to think the House investigation has gone past the point of needing the direct testimony of the whistleblower.
“I think we’ve moved well beyond that,” he said. “I mean, what’s the whistleblower going to tell us other than what we already know?”
“I’m not sure how relevant it remains at this point,” Florida Sen. Marco Rubio concurred.
Trump has repeatedly called for the whistleblower to come forward, and on Sunday, he called for the media to reveal the person’s identity which, though reportedly an open secret in Washington, remains protected by law.
“They know who it is. You know who it is. You just don’t want to report it. CNN knows who it is, but you don’t want to report it. And you know, you would be doing the public a service if you did,” Trump told reporters on Sunday.
President Trump on the whistleblower: “You know who it is. You just don’t want to report it. CNN knows who it is, but you don’t want to report it. And you know, you would be doing the public a service if you did.” https://t.co/kV3MfW7eQn pic.twitter.com/0G85pt3CxI
— The Hill (@thehill) November 4, 2019
House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy indicated that he had not spoken to Nunes about the offer made by the whistleblower’s attorneys but contended that the person should appear publicly and answer questions by the committee in person.
“When you’re talking about the removal of the president of the United States, undoing democracy, undoing what the American public had voted for, I think that individual should come before the committee,” McCarthy told CBS News’ “Face the Nation.”
“We need an openness that people understand this,” he added.
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