House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff is threatening Republican lawmakers ahead of the first public impeachment inquiry hearing on Wednesday and warning that any criticism of the whistleblower could prompt an Ethics Committee investigation. Schiff is also going out of his way to protect the Bidens from scrutiny.
"As explained in my November 9, 2019, response to the Ranking Member, it is important to underscore that the House's impeachment inquiry, and the Committee, will not serve as venues for any Member to further the same sham investigations into the Bidens or into debunked conspiracies about the 2016 U.S. election interference that President Trump pressed Ukraine to undertake for his personal political benefit," Schiff wrote in a memo to the Committee laying out the rules for the hearing. "Nor will the Committee facilitate any efforts by President Trump or his allies to threaten intimidate, or retaliate against the whistleblower who courageously and lawfully raised concerns about the President's conduct."
Whistleblower started Trump-Ukraine matter, framed issue in way House Dems have adopted for impeachment. Now Chairman Schiff orders GOP: Do not talk about whistleblower in impeachment hearings. If you do, you'll hear from Ethics Committee. https://t.co/SPVajnNhlp pic.twitter.com/ZKcITQDjIb— Byron York (@ByronYork) November 12, 2019
Despite Schiff's assertions and threats, asking simple questions about bias or political connections of a whistleblower isn't "intimidation" or "retaliation." Further and as Matt has detailed, there is no law that prevents the name of the whistleblower from becoming public. There's certainly no law that prevents Republican members of Congress from talking about a whistleblower in broad or specific terms during congressional hearings. This is especially true given this "impeachment" inquiry was launched by a whistleblower -- who with second hand knowledge -- claimed a July 25 phone call President Trump had with Ukrainian President Zelensky was inappropriate.