Looks like we won’t have the Ukraine-Gate whistleblower to kick around in the impeachment follies after all. Despite his touching off the latest scandal for Democrats’ use in their years-long effort to remove Donald Trump from the presidency, attorneys representing the career CIA analyst have broken off negotiations for his appearance in both the House and the Senate. That may not end up being the last word if this goes to a trial, however:
A source familiar with the discussions told the Washington Examiner that talks halted over potential testimony from the whistleblower and there is no discussion of testimony from a second whistleblower, who supported the first’s claims.The Washington Examiner’s Steven Nelson points out that this is quite a turnaround from six weeks ago. At that time, Adam Schiff declared that the whistleblower was only awaiting “guidance from the Acting DNI” to testify.
“There is no indication that either of the original whistleblowers will be called to testify or appear before the Senate or House Intelligence committees. There is no further discussion ongoing between the legal team and the committees,” the person said.
The whistleblower is a career CIA officer with expertise in Ukraine policy who served on the White House National Security Council during the Obama administration, when 2020 Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden was “point man” for Ukraine, and during the early months of the Trump administration.
Schiff spokesman Patrick Boland did not respond to requests for comment. “I’m not aware of any discussions” on having the whistleblower testify, said a House Republican source familiar with the inquiry.
Ever since then, however, questions have arisen about contacts between Schiff and/or his staff and the whistleblower prior to his complaint, as well as the whistleblower’s connections to potential Donald Trump challengers in the 2020 election. It didn’t help matters to have Schiff lie about the former, and rumors about connections to Joe Biden keep coming up.
...If Democrats vote to impeach Trump, a trial must begin in the Senate, where Republicans will control all of the processes that Schiff currently controls. It’s all but certain that Senate Republicans will take a very keen interest in just how this all started, and might start issuing subpoenas to House attorneys to testify as to their contacts with this whistleblower. They could also subpoena the whistleblower himself, although certain safeguards would still apply, but it might be sufficient to force transparency on House committee staffers in establishing who participated in this whistleblowing, at what time, and for what purpose.
At any rate, the fact that Democrats no longer want the whistleblower to participate in this process is not going to deter Republicans from pursuing this issue. In fact, it might just raise a big red flag for Lindsey Graham when — or if — he gets the case.