Whistleblower offers to take written questions in Trump impeachment inquiry

The anonymous whistleblower whose complaint triggered an impeachment inquiry into US President Donald Trump has agreed to answer written questions from Republican lawmakers, an attorney said on Sunday, as the process is dividing Washington further.

“Our legal team offered GOP direct opportunity to ask written questions of #whistleblower,” Mark Zaid, who’s representing the whistleblower, said in a series of tweets, while warning Republicans against their recent messaging that demanded the disclosure of the whistleblower’s identity.

 “GOP has sought to expose our client’s identity which could jeopardise their safety, as well as that of their family,” he wrote.

Zaid also said they have offered both Republican and Democratic members of the House and Senate Intelligence Committees to have his client answer questions “in writing, under oath & penalty of perjury.”

The attorney, specifically, said they have offered to Devin Nunes, the Republican ranking member of the House Intelligence Committee, “opportunity for Minority to submit through legal team written questions” to the Whistleblower.

“Questions cannot seek identifying info, regarding which we will not provide, or otherwise be inappropriate. We will ensure timely answers,” he said. “Being a whistleblower is not a partisan job nor is impeachment an objective. That is not our role.”

In an anonymous complaint this summer, the whistleblower raised concerns about the White House’s interactions with Ukraine, including a July 25 phone call between Trump and his Ukrainian counterpart, Volodymyr Zelensky, which prompted House Speaker Nancy Pelosi to initiate the impeachment inquiry late September.

Trump was alleged to have abused power by using a military aid to pressure Zelensky into investigating former U.S. Vice President Joe Biden, a top-tier 2020 Democratic presidential contender, so as to help his re-election campaign. Besides, the White House allegedly tried to cover it up. Trump has denied any wrongdoing or a “quid pro quo.”

The White House has dismissed those allegations and made clear that it will not cooperate with House investigators by providing documents or witnesses because it considered the ongoing impeachment inquiry unfair and illegitimate.

Zaid’s offer came as Trump called on Sunday for the revealing of the whistleblower’s identity, while attacking the complaint’s credibility.  

“The whistleblower should be revealed because the whistleblower gave false stories. Some people would call it a fraud; I won’t go that far,” Trump told reporters at the White House. -Xinhua

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