‘You need to know the person who started the complaint. Without this, there would be no, there’d be no case…’
(Claire Russel, Liberty Headlines) The GOP plans to compel the anonymous Ukraine whistleblower to testify if the Democrats’ impeachment proceedings move to the Senate for a trial, said Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., the chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee.
The whistleblower’s experience in Ukrainian diplomacy makes him a valuable witness, whether he’s the whistleblower or not, Graham said.
But it’s also important to establish context if the accusations against Trump are to be taken seriously, he added.
“You need to know the person who started the complaint. Without this, there would be no, there’d be no case,” he told the Washington Examiner.
Democrats have argued that the whistleblower cannot be forced to testify because doing so would expose his identity, which would be a violation of whistleblower protection statutes. But Graham said the whistleblower statute “was never meant to allow somebody to not come forward and confront the person they’re accusing.”
Numerous Senate Republicans confirmed that they would support Graham’s efforts to subpoena the whistleblower.
“I’m prepared to listen to any witness they would bring forward, but it’s clear that the individual named by some members of the media … worked closely with the [former] vice president on issues dealing with Ukraine,” Sen. John Kennedy, R-La., told the Examiner. “And he may know something about the allegations with respect to Mr. Hunter [Biden].”
Though the whistleblower hasn’t been officially outed, Republicans suspect that CIA officer Eric Ciaramella is the one who filed the formal inspector general’s complaint on Trump’s dealings with Ukraine.
Ciaramella was a top Ukraine adviser on the National Security Council under former chiefs Susan Rice during the Obama administration and H.R. McMaster during Trump’s tenure. Both have been sharply critical of the president.
He also is said to have accompanied Biden to Ukraine while the then-vice president was leading the foreign policy efforts there.
The whistleblower’s lawyers have refused to confirm or deny that it may be Ciaramella—and he, himself, has not responded to questions.
However, three congressional GOP sources told the Examiner that Ciaramella undoubtedly played an important role in the accusations against the president.
Rep. John Yarmouth, D-Ky., said that if the Senate does attempt to compel Ciaramella to testify, Democrats will “resist and oppose the subpoena.”
That, presumably would leave the decision to Chief Justice John Roberts, who would be responsible for presiding over the trial.
“With the chief justice, again, I think you’d have to make a demonstration as to why that testimony was necessary, which it clearly isn’t,” Yarmouth said.
Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., said the whistleblower is a “person of interest” who knows a lot about Hunter Biden’s involvement with Burisma, a Ukrainian oil company, and what former Vice President Joe Biden did or did not do to assist his son’s foreign endeavors.
Graham has already launched an independent investigation into the Bidens’ Ukrainian dealings—a move Joe Biden slammed as an embarrassment.
“Lindsey is about to go down in a way that I think he’s going to regret his whole life,” Biden told CNN. “I say Lindsey, I just—I’m just embarrassed by what you’re doing—for you. I mean, my Lord.”
Biden tells @donlemon he’s “embarrassed by” Graham’s actions after senator asks Pompeo to turn over docs related to Hunter and Ukraine
“Lindsey is about to go down in a way that I think he’s going to regret his whole life,” Biden says, adding Trump is “holding power” over him pic.twitter.com/sjNjQV7Ogp
— Manu Raju (@mkraju) November 22, 2019
Biden said he blames Trump for “holding power over” Graham.
“He knows me; he knows my son; he knows there’s nothing to this,” Biden continued.