Trump impeachment: Whistleblower offered to communicate directly with Republicans after repeated attacks

Offer came amid fresh effort to cast US security official as biased and uncover their identity

Clark Mindock
New York
Sunday 03 November 2019 20:51 GMT
Devin Nunes defends Donald Trump: 'If they had a real case they wouldn't waste time spoon feeding ridiculous attacks'

The US official whose whistleblower complaint led to the impeachment inquiry against Donald Trump, has agreed to communicate directly with members of the Republican Party on the intelligence committee leading the probe, his attorney has said.

Mark Zaid said he had reached out to congressman Devin Nunes to offer to provide sworn written responses to questions from Republicans, under penalty of perjury.

Mr Nunes - the ranking member of the House Intelligence Committee - had not responded at the time of publication.

Following repeated attacks from Republicans, who have accused him of bias, Mr Zaid said his client, a member of the US intelligence community. was prepared to respond to those allegations.

He added that they had been trying publicise his client’s identity, which could “jeopardise their safety, as well as that of their family.”

“Recent GOP messaging, led by President Trump (incl this morning), has been to highlight original #WBer & demand disclosure of identity,” Mr Zaid wrote on Twitter, using the acronym for "Grand Old Party", which the Republicans are often referred to as.

The impeachment inquiry was launched last month after a whistleblower complaint from the unidentified US intelligence official who was concerned that the president's actions on Ukraine were illegal and jeopardised national security.

It has since heard first-hand accounts from officials including former National Security Council member Alexander Vindman, who described Mr Trump's efforts to pressure Ukraine to investigate the 2020 Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden and his son Hunter, as well as accusations he used $391m in US aid as leverage.

A White House summary of a phone call between Mr Trump and Ukraine's President Volodymyr Zelenskiy showed Mr Trump asking his Ukrainian counterpart to investigate his rival.

Mr Trump had attacked previously attacked the whistleblower and claimed his call with Ukrainian president Mr Zelensky was "perfect".

He claimed without proof that the news media already knows the identity of the whistleblower, and that he should be identified publicly.

Later on the White House lawn, Mr Trump called the whistleblower an "Obama guy" and a fraud.

He said: "The whistleblower should be revealed, because the whistleblower gave a false story."

Democrats in recent weeks have moved away from expressing publicly that they need to hear from the whistleblower, after closed-door testimony from individuals who were actually on the phone call in July.

They have also heard from individuals in America’s foreign policy apparatus, and focused on Ukraine policy.

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Those witnesses have all seemed to confirm that Mr Trump intended to use hundreds of millions of dollars in military aide to Ukraine as leverage to force Mr Zelensky to publicly declare that Mr Biden is being investigated.

Much of that testimony has occurred in spite of White House attempts to keep individuals from testifying, citing the privileged nature of the president’s dealings.

It was announced on Saturday night that the next scheduled witness — a top national security aide and close ally of acting chief of staff Mick Mulvaney — had determined not to testify, citing White House direction.

R​obert Blair, was also reportedly on the 25 July phone call.

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