The House Judiciary Committee will begin impeachment hearings on Wednesday, but the individual who got the entire ball rolling won’t be present. The whistleblower is AWOL.
Top House Intelligence Committee Republican Rep. Devin Nunes, R-Calif., pointed out on Nov. 19, “Now that the whistleblower has successfully kickstarted impeachment, he has disappeared from the story — as if the Democrats put the whistleblower in their own witness protection program.”
This key figure’s absence is especially stunning, given that Democrats were for the whistleblower’s testimony before they were against it.
- House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., wrote her colleagues on Sept. 22 announcing that Acting Director of National Intelligence Joseph Maguire would testify before House Intelligence on Sept. 26. Pelosi stated that members of Congress “expect that he will establish a path for the whistleblower to speak directly to the House and Senate Intelligence Committees as required by law.”
- “We have been informed by the whistleblower’s counsel that their client would like to speak to our committee and has requested guidance from the Acting DNI as to how to do so,” House Intelligence Chairman Adam Schiff, D-Calif., announced Sept. 24, via Twitter. “We’re in touch with counsel and look forward to the whistleblower’s testimony as soon as this week.”
- “We need to speak with the whistleblower,” Schiff, House Judiciary Chairman Jerrold Nadler, D-N.Y., House Foreign Affairs Chairman Eliot Engel, D-N.Y., and the late House Oversight Chairman Elijah Cummings, D-Md., declared in a Sept. 25 joint press release.
- “Do I have your assurance that the whistleblower will be able to testify fully and freely and enjoy the protections of the law?” Schiff asked Maguire at a Sept. 26 Intelligence hearing. Maguire replied, “Yes, congressman.”
- Schiff insisted on Sept. 29 that the whistleblower should appear “without a minder from the Justice Department or from the White House to tell the whistleblower what they can or cannot say. We’ll get the unfiltered testimony of that whistleblower.”
But Democrats then spun the Impeachment Express 180 degrees.
- Mark Zaid — an attorney for the whistleblower, whom Schiff claimed a month earlier was working to unveil his client — said on October 24 that the whistleblower “is completely irrelevant, as the complaint is now public, and the primary actors at senior levels are being interviewed by members of the House from both political parties.”
- “The whistleblower will go down in history as a hero for kicking off this process,” said Rep. Jamie B. Raskin, D-Md., a House Oversight Committee member. “But the whistleblower is no longer integral to the investigation in any way.”
- Nunes proposed having the whistleblower testify before the Intelligence Committee. In a Nov. 9 letter, Schiff replied, “an ever-growing body of evidence ... not only confirms, but far exceeds, the initial information in the whistleblower’s complaint.”
Schiff continued: “The whistleblower’s testimony is therefore redundant and unnecessary. In light of the president’s threats, the individual’s appearance before us would only place their personal safety at grave risk.”
Schiff took an ugly, nasty turn here, suggesting that President Trump’s statements defending himself against his invisible accuser somehow would expose the whistleblower to violence.
What explains Schiff and the Democrats’ head-spinning whistleblower flip-flop?
“The media have fully accepted the Democrats’ stunning reversal on the need for the whistleblower to testify to this committee,” Nunes explained at a November 19 impeachment hearing.
“When the Democrats were insisting on his testimony, the media wanted it too. But things have changed since it became clear the whistleblower would have to answer problematic questions that include these: What was the full extent of the whistleblower’s prior coordination with Chairman Schiff, his staff, and any other people he cooperated with while preparing the complaint? What are the whistleblower’s political biases and connections to Democratic politicians? How does the whistleblower explain the inaccuracies in the complaint? What contact did the whistleblower have with the media, which appears to be ongoing?”
If the whistleblower testifies under oath, inconvenient truths will erupt. So, Democrats reckon, they are better off sticking a sock in his mouth.
Bucknell University student Michael Malarkey contributed research to this piece.