Democrat Schiff says he's committed to protecting whistleblower in impeachment probes
The Democratic lawmaker leading an impeachment inquiry into President Donald Trump said his "primary interest" was in protecting the whistleblower whose complaint touched off the presidential probe.
Zachary Goelman reports.
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EXISTING GRAPHICS MAY BE OVERWRITTEN BY CLIENT'S OWN GRAPHICS BUT NO FURTHER EDITS ARE PERMITTED, INCLUDING FOR LENGTH.** U.S. Representative Adam Schiff is the Democratic lawmaker leading the impeachment inquiry into President Donald Trump, and on Sunday (October 13) he said that he was committed to protecting the whistleblower whose report triggered the probe into the president.
(SOUNDBITE) (English) DEMOCRATIC HOUSE INTELLIGENCE COMMITTEE CHAIRMAN ADAM SCHIFF, SAYING: "Our primary interest right now is making sure that person is protected.
Indeed, now that there's more than one whistleblower, that they are protected." Schiff said early efforts to get the whistleblower to testify had changed after the president began verbally attacking the individual.
(SOUNDBITE) (English) DEMOCRATIC HOUSE INTELLIGENCE COMMITTEE CHAIRMAN ADAM SCHIFF, SAYING: "Initially, before the president started threatening the whistleblower and threatening others, calling them traitors and spies, and suggesting that you know, we used to give the death penalty to traitors and spies and maybe we should think about that again, yes, we were interested in having the whistleblower come forward." (SOUNDBITE) (English) U.S. PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP, SAYING (OCTOBER 2): "He either got it totally wrong, made it up, or the person giving the information to the whistleblower was dishonest and this country has to find out who that person was because that person’s a spy, in my opinion." Donald Trump has fulminated against the whistleblower report, which was triggered by a July 25 phone call between Trump and Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelensky where Trump pressed Zelensky to open an investigation into Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden.
The whistleblower complaint warned that request could amount to soliciting foreign election interference.
House Democrats cited that complaint as the reason to launch an impeachment inquiry.
Trump claims he did nothing wrong.
(SOUNDBITE) (English) U.S. PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP, SAYING (SATURDAY): "It's a witch hunt.
Based on a single phone call of congratulations to the President of Ukraine, which they fraudulently mis-characterized to sound absolutely horrible." A record of the call released by the White House largely confirmed details of the whistleblower's account, and Democrats cite that record along with other testimony as strengthening their case for impeachment.
(SOUNDBITE) (English) DEMOCRATIC HOUSE INTELLIGENCE COMMITTEE CHAIRMAN ADAM SCHIFF, SAYING: "And given that we already have the call record, we don't need the whistleblower who wasn't on the call to tell us what took place during the call.
We have the best evidence of that." The House impeachment inquiry is expected to accelerate this week as Congress returns on Monday from a two-week break and more witnesses go before committees for closed-door testimony.
White House officials have said they will not comply with House investigators.