The Democratic chairman of the House Intelligence Committee says it has reached an agreement to hear from a whistleblower whose whose complaint that has sparked an impeachment inquiry of President Donald Trump.
“We are taking all the precautions we can to … allow that testimony to go forward in a way that protects the whistleblower’s identity,” Adam Schiff told the ABC news show “This Week.” With the president issuing threats … you can imagine the security concerns here.”
Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelenskiy and U.S. President Donald Trump face reporters during a bilateral meeting on the sidelines of the 74th session of the United Nations General Assembly in New York, Sept. 25, 2019.
The whistleblower alleges that Trump, in a July 25 phone call, sought help from the new president of Ukraine in digging up incriminating information about former Vice President Joe Biden and his son Hunter that would hurt Biden’s prospects of winning the Democratic presidential nomination and challenging Trump in 2020.
President Donald Trump, who has released a rough transcript of the phone call, has insisted he did nothing wrong and has continued to defend himself via Twitter. Has he called the impeachment inquiry launched by Democrats in the House of Representatives “the greatest scam in the history of American politics.”
FILE – Senior White House Advisor Stephen Miller waits to go on the air in the White House Briefing Room in Washington, Feb. 12, 2017.
His adviser, Stephen Miller, told “Fox News Sunday” that the whistleblower’s behavior was “close to a spy” and said Trump himself was the true whistleblower for revealing alleged corruption by the Bidens.
As vice president, Biden and other Western leaders pressured Ukraine to get rid of the country’s top prosecutor, Viktor Shokin, because he was seen as not tough enough on corruption.
Trump has claimed Biden was seeking to protect his son but that allegation has been debunked.
Screenshot of whistleblower complaint
The whistleblower’s complaint also said the White House tried to “lock down” the information to prevent its public disclosure. Efforts to hide the information allegedly included the removal of the transcript of the call from the computer system that is typically used for such records of calls with foreign leaders and loading it into a separate electronic system that is used only for classified information that is of an “especially sensitive nature.”
White House officials have stressed that the whistleblower didn’t have first hand information to make the allegations.
The complaint noted that a White House official described that as an abuse of the secure system because there was nothing “remotely sensitive” on the phone call from a national security perspective.
On Thursday, before leaving New York where he attended the U.N. General Assembly, Trump told a crowd of staff from the United States Mission to the U.N. that he wants to know who provided information to the whistleblower. He said that whomever did so was “close to a spy” and that “in the old days,” spies were dealt with differently,” according to The New York Times newspaper.