House Democrats’ top impeachment inquisitor abruptly changed from repeatedly insisting on the testimony of a whistleblower against President Donald Trump to working to prevent it. The change occurred as soon as it was revealed the complainant had secretly worked with Rep. Adam Schiff’s Democratic staff prior to filing his formal complaint on Aug. 12.
At first, Schiff insisted an anti-Trump bureaucrat sharing allegations against the president must share his story with the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence. But after news broke that Schiff’s staff had secretly worked with the whistleblower prior to the complaint being lodged, discussions that the whistleblower failed to mention when specifically asked about them as part of the official whistleblower process, Schiff moved to prevent the testimony. The move appears designed to prevent Republican lawmakers from asking the individual under oath about his discussions with House Democrats, media, and others involved in the impeachment effort.
Schiff announced on Sept. 24 the whistleblower had agreed to speak with the committee:
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.
We‘re in touch with counsel and look forward to the whistleblower’s testimony as soon as this week.
— Adam Schiff (@RepAdamSchiff) September 24, 2019
Two days later, Schiff peppered Joseph Maguire, the director of national intelligence, about the need to hear from the “whistleblower” in an uninhibited fashion:
ADAM SCHIFF: Director, do I have your assurance that once you work out the security clearances for the whistleblower’s counsel, that that whistleblower will be able to relate the full facts within his knowledge that concern wrongdoing by the president or anyone else, that he or she will not be inhibited in what they can tell our committee, that there will not be some minder from the White House or elsewhere sitting next to them telling them what they can answer or not answer? Do I have your assurance that the whistleblower will be able to testify fully and freely and enjoy the protections of the law?
“We need to speak with the whistleblower,” Schiff and other Democrats proclaimed, repeatedly.
On Sept. 29, Schiff talked about the whistleblower coming in “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.”
In early October, however, news broke that the complainant had come to Schiff’s staff before filing. Schiff stopped demanding the testimony, and last Sunday he claimed it was no longer needed. While the extent of their coordination is unknown, the major problem was that the discussions were undisclosed by both Schiff and the anti-Trump complainant. Schiff had publicly denied any such interactions while the bureaucrat failed to mention the contacts when specifically asked about them on a government form.
The final portion of the whistleblower form requires whistleblowers to attest under penalty of perjury that they have neither misstated nor concealed material facts in their complaints.
“I certify that all of the statements made in this complaint (including any continuation pages) are true, complete, and correct to the best of my knowledge and belief,” whistleblowers are required to attest. “I understand that, pursuant to 18 U.S.C. 1001, a false statement or concealment of a material fact is a criminal offense punishable by a fine of up to $10,000, imprisonment for up to five years, or both.”
The complaint was composed of second-hand claims, full of gossip and rumor, and riddled with false assertions, as indicated by the actual transcript.
Democrats have dramatically switched from demanding transparency about the whistleblower complaint to hiding depositions, transcripts, and evidence. In contrast, President Trump declassified the transcript of the July 25 phone call between Trump and Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelensky, and documents surrounding the whistleblower complaint.
Democrats have insisted on holding their inquisition in secret behind closed doors and are now refusing to allow the whistleblower to testify as both the whistleblower and Schiff had claimed to want prior to the news of their coordination.
Similarly, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi has refused to hold a vote on the House floor authorizing an impeachment investigation and delegating investigation authority to a committee for that purpose.
Republican House members are eager to question the individual whose allegations could lead them to have to vote for or against impeachment on the House floor. These questions include: When did you or anyone you’re associated with first approach Democrats on the staff? Did you or your team contact any Republicans? Did you contact anyone in the Republican-controlled Senate? If not, why not? Did you or your team have any interactions with any member of the media? You claim that more than one-half dozen U.S. officials told you this information. Please name them and say what they told you. Have you had any contact with any individuals running for president or their staff in the last three years? While you worked at the National Security Council, did you have any interactions with members of the media regarding internal confidential information within the council? Were you aware at any point of efforts to have you removed from the National Security Council due to allegations of leaking to the media? Are any of the allegations in your complaint supported by firsthand evidence, be it eyewitness or documents? If so, please cite page and line number.
Republican members of the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence have written a letter to Schiff about his concealment of key documents and evidence from the full committee. It ended by noting that the decision to hide the key witness from questioning severs any feasible tie to the Intelligence Committee.
“The highly irregular manner in which you are conducting your so-called ‘impeachment inquiry’ gravely concerns us, as does the fact that you have decreed this matter to be under HPSCI’s jurisdiction despite it lacking any clear intelligence component. Further, given that you have recently acknowledged that the Committee no longer needs to receive testimony from the whistleblower, your ‘impeachment inquiry’ lacks any relationship with the jurisdiction of this Committee,” all Republican members of the committee wrote in a letter, adding that “partisan activities” are “best suited for another Committee.”