In the current impeachment hearing, Rep. Adam Schiff has maintained a firm hold on what witnesses can be called and what questions can be asked. From the very beginning of the hearing when asked when and if the whistleblower could testify under closed hearings, Schiff made it clear that the identity of the whistleblower was not to be shared. He even claimed publicly at the start of the Wednesday hearing that he did “not know the identity of the whistleblower.”
This whole hearing should begin with the "whistleblower," the government employee who brought the complaint to Schiff about the phone call to Ukraine’s new president. Protecting the identity of the whistleblower is not protected in the whistleblower legislation. Rep. Schiff has written that any words from the “whistleblower” would be both “redundant and unnecessary.” Fairness requires that President Trump’s counsel and Republican members of the committee have the right to cross-examine this witness, whether held in a private or public hearing.
The second witness should be Schiff himself, but Schiff has refused to be a witness at the impeachment hearing. Fortunately, Senator Lindsay Graham has promised to call Schiff as a witness if the impeachment is brought to the Senate. Without that, there will be critical gaps in the information needed to have a fair consideration on Trump’s impeachment. Here are some questions I would love to ask, and as citizens, we should demand to be asked.
At the beginning of this impeachment hearing, you said that you didn’t know the identity of the whistleblower. Is that true, Rep. Schiff? Are you stating that no one on your staff knows or met with the whistleblower? Is it not true that your staff not only interviewed the whistleblower but provided legal consultation in making his claim?
As the House Intelligence Committee Chairman, do you acknowledge that your “parody” on September 26th of the ostensible reading of the transcript of Trump’s telephone conversation with Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelensky was inaccurate and inappropriate? Do you acknowledge that this partisan reading makes it hard for us to accept you as an honest broker in this impeachment hearing?
Is it not true that the testimony of your lead witnesses at the impeachment hearing, William Taylor, Jr. and George Kent, would never be considered in a court of law? Both witnesses had no direct evidence of a high crime by the President, but shared testimony based on numerous rumors about the President’s actions.
In short, what is the crime Trump committed that is worthy of impeachment? What is the evidence of that crime? What is to stop citizens from seeing this hearing for what it is—a witch hunt in search of a crime?
Is it possible that there are many reasons that President Trump could have delayed shipment of promised military aid? Did you call President Trump yourself to ask why he withheld shipments? Did you know that Sen. Ron Johnson, R-Wis, wanted to find out why the aid was held up and called Trump directly? Trump explained that he was still trying to get European nations to pay their share to arm Ukraine against Russia. When Johnson bluntly asked Trump if that was a quid pro quo for aid, and Trump vehemently replied, “No, I would never do that.”
You have made it clear that you do not want the name of the whistleblower identified in the impeachment hearing. Would you agree that the media is under no obligation to not identify that person? It is true that Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein protected “Deep Throat”, but this “whistleblower” is not a source to any journalist, and your calls for anonymity do not apply. Does not the President and those who voted him into office have a right to know that the whistleblower whose claims threaten to undermine the will of the people in the 2016 election will be required to share his testimony under oath? Do not the claims he made require adequate cross-examination to be fair?
Rep. Schiff’s failure to provide a fair inquiry will have an impact on the actions of the Senate. Thankfully, Sen. Lindsay Graham has promised to do what Schiff has refused to do: “It’s impossible to bring this case forward, in my view, fairly, without us knowing who the whistleblower is and having a chance to cross-examine him about any biases that they may have. So if they don’t call the whistleblower in the House, this thing is dead on arrival in the Senate.”
May it be so!