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Panel to hear ‘very soon’ from Trump whistleblower, Schiff says

Congressman Adam Schiff on May 29, 2017, in Pasadena, Calif. (Francine Orr/Los Angeles Times/TNS)
September 30, 2019

Congress expects to hear “very soon” from a whistleblower whose complaint spurred an impeachment inquiry against President Donald Trump, the chairman of the House Intelligence Committee said.

The process is proceeding even with Congress on recess, with an inspector general returning for a closed-door session this week to discuss other potential witnesses, said Democratic Rep. Adam Schiff.

The timing of the whistleblower’s appearance will depend on how quickly the security-clearance process for his or her lawyers can be completed, and notices of depositions were sent this week for five current or former State Department officials, Schiff said in an interview on ABC’s “This Week” on Sunday.

“We’re moving forward with all speed,” he added.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi has said the impeachment process “should move with purpose and expeditiously” but hasn’t laid out a specific timetable.

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Pelosi launched a formal impeachment inquiry of Trump last week amid a series of damaging allegations, including that the president withheld military aid to Ukraine before asking Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy to investigate top Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden during a July phone call.

The whistleblower’s complaint also detailed alleged efforts by the White House to “lock down” records of the exchange.

On Friday, Secretary of State Michael Pompeo was subpoenaed for documents related to the complaint by three House committees as part of Democrats’ impeachment investigation. The same day, Kurt Volker, Trump’s special envoy to Ukraine, stepped down after he was named in a whistleblower’s complaint, people familiar with the matter said. The committees are also seeking testimony from Volker and four other State Department officials.

Rudy Giuliani, Trump’s personal lawyer, said on ABC that Schiff should be removed because he “has already prejudged the case” and is an “illegitimate chairman.”

“If we want fairness here, we’ve got to put somebody in charge of that committee who has an open mind, not someone who wants to hang the president,” Giuliani said.

Schiff said Giuliani “seems to think that I’m the judge and jury here.” The Republican-controlled Senate will hear any impeachment that the House may bring, Schiff said.

“I intend to hold president accountable, and I intend to do a thorough investigation,” Schiff said. “What we’ve seen already is damning.”

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© 2019 Bloomberg News

Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.