Rep. Eric Swalwell (D-CA), member of the House Intel Committee and House Judiciary Committee, argued why it is unnecessary to release the name of the whistleblower that filed a complaint of a phone call between President Trump and the Ukrainian president.
KEILAR: Joining me now from Capitol Hill is California Congressman Eric Swalwell. He is a Democrat on both the House Intelligence Committee and the House Judiciary Committee. Sir, thanks for joining us.
REP. ERIC SWALWELL (D-CA): Of course. Thanks, Brianna, for having me back.
KEILAR: I want to read a tweet that we saw that you put out on the whistleblower. You said, quote, the whistleblower pulled a fire alarm. First responders showed up and saw smoke, flames and Donald Trump holding a gas can with matches. Does it matter who pulled the fire alarm?
I want to ask you about this because, I mean, I see the point you're making. But in fairness, if a suspected crime had occurred in the course of a fire, wouldn't investigators absolutely want to interview the person who pulled the fire alarm and obviously saw something that prompted them to do that?
SWALWELL: Well, Brianna, the point is the whistleblower has a right to anonymity. That is a law that Republicans and Democrats have respected. And unless the whistleblower can additional relevant evidence, we don't believe there's a reason to pierce that anonymity that the whistleblower is entitled to. We believe the only effort underway is to be punitive and put the whistleblower's life at risk or to chill future whistleblowers from coming forward.
KEILAR: Are you sure they can't add something additional?
SWALWELL: You know, I have seen the whistleblower complaint and the other witnesses interviewed. I know my Republican colleagues have as well. And I would challenge them to tell me beyond pulling that fire alarm, what has not been corroborated by the witnesses we have interviewed?
And if that's the case, isn't it more important to protect somebody's life, especially knowing the way the president has characterized the whistleblower as a spy and suggesting that we should go back to the days where perhaps spies should be executed. We should take the whistleblower and his or her life and their family's life very seriously.
KEILAR: I mean, clearly, the life of the whistleblower is very important. I don't think anyone or really no one should disagree with that.
But at the same point, I mean, isn't the complaint sort of tantamount to, say, reading the opening statement of another witness but not being able to question them?
SWALWELL: Again, because we have corroborated everything the whistleblower has alleged, having the whistleblower testify would put the whistleblower's life in serious jeopardy. And so the question is, is that person's life worth more than -- is that person's life worth less than being redundant, and our position right now is that it's not.
KEILAR: Okay. I understand what you're saying. I am curious because there are a number --
SWALWELL: That person's life is worth more than being redundant.
KEILAR: Yes. But there are a number of people who also have come forward and are being public and are being named. But I do want to move on and ask you about whether you think the White House knows who the whistleblower is. Are you worried?
SWALWELL: Of course, I'm worried about what it would mean for the whistleblower, but I don't want to speculate because I just don't know.