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Ranking House Oversight Republican Rejects Whistleblower Offer of Written Answers

U.S. Rep. Jim Jordan (R-OH) is followed by Rep. Lee Zeldin (R-NY) as he walks with fellow Republicans and staff on Capitol Hill in Washington, U.S., October 15, 2019. (Leah Millis/Reuters)

The ranking Republican on the House Oversight Committee on Sunday rejected an offer from the whistleblower’s lawyer to answer questions from House Republicans in writing, saying it is imperative that lawmakers hear from the whistleblower “in person.”

The whistleblower’s lawyer Mark Zaid made an offer Saturday to House Intelligence Committee ranking Republican Devin Nunes to submit written answers from his client “in writing, under oath and penalty of perjury” to Republicans’ questions.

“Written answers will not provide a sufficient opportunity to probe all the relevant facts and cross examine the so-called Whistleblower,” Rep. Jim Jordan (R., Ohio) said in a statement. “You don’t get to ignite an impeachment effort and never account for your actions and role in orchestrating it.

Jordan added that lawmakers have “serious questions about this individual’s political bias and partisan motivations” and accused the whistleblower’s counsel and House Intelligence Committee chairman Adam Schiff of “attempting to hide these facts from public scrutiny.”

Zaid responded late Sunday night to Jordan’s statement, accusing Jordan of “deliberate deflection and disinformation” despite his client’s offer to “rise above partisanship.”

“Congressman Jordan’s statement highlights his misunderstanding of fed WBer laws & protections,” the attorney said in a tweet.

The intelligence community inspector general found that the anonymous whistleblower, a member of the intelligence community, exhibited “arguable political bias” but said the allegations included in his complaint were nevertheless worthy of investigation, according to a Justice Department Office of Legal Counsel opinion.

The whistleblower’s complaint alleged that President Trump’s July 25 phone call with Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelensky included a request for an illegal campaign contribution. According to the whistleblower, Zelensky’s offer to investigate former vice president Joe Biden’s connection to a Ukrainian natural gas company may represent a campaign finance law violation because foreign nationals are prohibited from contributing to American political campaigns in any way, including by conducting opposition research on rival candidates.

The phone call between the two presidents has become the crux of the impeachment inquiry against Trump.

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