Nov. 4 (UPI) — A lawyer for the U.S. official, whose whistle-blower complaint concerning a phone call between President Donald Trump and Ukraine initiated an ongoing impeachment probe, said Sunday that his client has agreed to directly answer Republicans’ questions in writing.
Mark Zaid said via a Twitter thread the anonymous whistle-blower’s legal team has offered Rep. Devin Nunes, R-Calif., ranking Republican on the House Intelligence Committee, the “opportunity” to ask their client written questions, which the whistle-blower will answer in a timely fashion.
The whistle-blower has previously offered to answer lawmakers’ questions in writing while under oath and the penalty of perjury, Zaid said, and this move, in a departure of whistle-blower norms, would allow Republicans direct access to their client.
“Obviously, per House rules, GOP is beholden to [the Democrats],” he said. “We, however, are not. Being a whistle-blower is not a partisan job nor is impeachment an objective.”
Zaid said the offer was made amid Republican attempts to out their client at the risk of “their safety as well as that of their family” despite longstanding House policy to protect the anonymity of whistle-blowers.
Questions attempting to expose the U.S. intelligence community official’s identity will not be answered, Zaid said.
Rep. Jim Jordan, R-Ohio, ranking Republican on the House Oversight Committee, dismissed the offer of submitting written answers as it prevents cross-examination and the opportunity to further investigate facts.
“You should not be able to ignite an impeachment effort and never account for your actions and role in orchestrating it,” he said. “We have serious questions about this individual’s political bias and partisan motivations.”
In August, the anonymous U.S. official submitted a complaint alleging Trump, in a July 25 phone call with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, threatened to withhold aid to the Eastern European country if it didn’t investigate the family of Joe Biden, a candidate in the 2020 presidential election.
Trump on Sunday reiterated demands for the identity of the whistle-blower to be revealed, stating that doing so would unravel the ongoing impeachment investigation.
“The whistle-blower got it [so] wrong that he must come forward,” Trump tweeted. “… Reveal the whistle-blower and end the impeachment hoax!”
Trump told reporters Sunday that the whistle-blower should be revealed because his complaint was false and that the individual is connected to former President Barack Obama’s staff.
“Some people would call it a fraud; I won’t go that far. But when I read it closely, I probably would,” he said. “But the whistle-blower should be revealed.”
The Republicans have demanded the whistle-blower to testify publicly, while the Democrats have argued that the U.S. official has the right to anonymity.