Articles

F.B.I. Sought to Interview Whistle-blower in Ukraine Case

A television reporter on Capitol Hill during the impeachment hearing.

Since the original F.B.I....

Since the original F.B.I. request, the issue of interviewing the whistle-blower has become more fraught and entangled in partisan politics.

House Republicans have demanded the chance to interview the whistle-blower as part of the impeachment inquiry, but Democrats have resisted, withdrawing an earlier request to speak to him. House Democrats believe there is no reason to call in the whistle-blower since his information was secondhand, and they now have sworn testimony from witnesses more directly involved in the July 25 call as well as people more directly involved in the pressure campaign on Kyiv.

An F.B.I. spokeswoman declined to comment. Andrew P. Bakaj, the lead attorney for the whistle-blower, also declined to comment but said that it remained critical for the identity of his client to be protected for his safety.

Although the testimony in the impeachment hearings has centered on witnesses with more direct knowledge of Mr. Trump’s pressure campaign, the whistle-blower remains a central, but mysterious, figure. Republicans continue to press witnesses about whether they spoke to people who could be the whistle-blower.

Mr. Bakaj has offered to have his client answer written questions from the committee.

But House Republicans have continued to focus on the whistle-blower’s push to make the Ukraine pressure campaign public, as part of a larger effort to demonstrate partisan motivations. Republicans have suggested the whistle-blower was partisan because he was originally detailed to the White House under the Obama administration to work on Ukrainian affairs and was a registered Democrat.

The whistle-blower has remained an obsession among right-wing media and Trump allies who have speculated about the analyst’s identity and political affiliation. Several right-wing websites have purported to identify the whistle-blower, but no mainstream media outlet or even top-tier conservative site has identified the officer who filed the complaint.

Republicans have frequently noted that before filing his complaint, the whistle-blower met with a Democratic staff member of the House Intelligence Committee.

Read more

Star InactiveStar InactiveStar InactiveStar InactiveStar Inactive