Schiff Interrupts Nunes Questioning: "I Want To Make Sure There Is No Effort To Out The Whistleblower" | Video | RealClearPolitics

Schiff Interrupts Nunes Questioning: "I Want To Make Sure There Is No Effort To Out The Whistleblower"


Tuesday morning during the third day of public impeachment inquiry hearing, House Intelligence Committee ranking member Rep. Devin Nunes asked both witnesses Jennifer Williams and Lt. Col. Alexander Vindman, whether they leaked, or directed anyone to leak, any information surrounding the July 25 call between President Trump and Ukrainian President Zelenskyy to the now-infamous whistleblower.

"The question is: Do you know personally know any individual who discussed... any matter associated with the call to any member of the press?" Nunes asked Vindman, a National Security Council official who listened to the call in question.

"I do not," Vindman said. "I do not engage with the press at all." He added, "We have an NSC press shop to engage in these types of questions."

He got the same answer from Jennifer Williams, an aide to Vice President Pence.

Next, Nunes got Vindman to confirm that he had spoken to someone from an intelligence agency about the call, but the line of questioning was interrupted.

After repeated questions from Nunes on the course of the whistleblower's leaks about the July 25 call, Chairman Adam Schiff eventually interrupted Nunes and insisted that the hearings would not be used to "out the whistleblower."

"If I could interject here," Chairman Schiff said. "We don't want to use these proceedings to... We need to protect the whistleblower. Please stop. I want to make sure there is no effort to out the whistleblower as a result of these proceedings... That is not the purpose we are here for and I want to advise the witness accordingly."

After the interruption, Nunes continued his questioning: "Mr. Vindman, you testified in your deposition that you did not know the whistleblower?"

"Ranking member, it is Lt. Col. Vindman," the witness replied. "I do not know who the whistleblower is."

"Then how is it possible for you to name these people and then out the whistleblower?" Nunes asked.

"Per the advice of my counsel I've been advised not to answer specific questions about members of the intelligence committee," Vindman replied.

"Are you aware that this is the Intelligence Committee?" Nunes asked. "Wouldn't you agree that this would be the place for you to come to to testify about someone within the intelligence community?"

Vindman repeated the same answer and said he had been advised by Chairman Schiff not to answer that question.

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