Target the messenger
Attorneys representing the whistleblower who flagged President Trump's interactions with Ukraine told House Intelligence Committee ranking Republican Devin Nunes (Calif.) Saturday night that the whistleblower is willing to answer written questions directly from committee Republicans, under oath and penalty of perjury, CBS's Margaret Brennan first reported Sunday morning. That was apparently news to House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.).
Trump and his allies are intensifying their efforts to publicly identify the whistleblower, and the whistleblower's attorney Mark Zaid said Sunday that the Republican questions "cannot seek identifying info, regarding which we will not provide, or otherwise be inappropriate." Nunes has not publicly responded to the offer, but Rep. Jim Jordan (R-Ohio), a staunch Trump defender, is opposed. "You don't get to ignite an impeachment effort and never account for your actions and role in orchestrating it," Jordan said. McCarthy also argued that the whistleblower should face public questioning.
House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-Md.) and other Democrats say the whistleblower is largely irrelevant now that people closer to Trump's Ukraine policy and other evidence have corroborated the whistleblower's account of Trump using the U.S. government to pressure Ukraine into investigating political rivals for his own personal benefit.
Trump is pushing to out the whistleblower anyway. "You know who it is, you just don't want to report it," Trump told reporters Sunday at the White House. "And you know you'd be doing the public a service if you did." Federal whistleblower laws are designed to protect the identity and careers of officials who expose government wrongdoing, The Associated Press notes. "Lawmakers in both parties have historically backed those protections."