Attorneys for the federal employee whose whistleblower complaint has been the basis for the House’s ongoing impeachment proceedings say that their client’s identity is irrelevant and should remain secret from members of Congress and the American public.
In a Friday op-ed at the Washington Post, Andrew P. Bakaj and Mark S. Zaid — both attorneys representing the federal employee — make the case that because the public already knows more than what was in the employee’s complaint, the employee should remain anonymous to the public.
“Much of what has been disclosed since the release of our client’s complaint actually exceeds the whistleblower’s knowledge of what transpired at the time the complaint was submitted. Because our client has no additional information about the president’s call, there is no justification for exposing their identity and all the risks that would follow.”
The lawyers also took issue with calls for their client testify publicly as “nothing more than a diversionary tactic,” explaining that they that they “have notified both the House and Senate intelligence committees in a bipartisan manner that the whistleblower is willing to respond to any questions in writing and under oath.”
While Bakaj has said that his client is “entitled to anonymity” under “law and policy,” Republicans have cast the identity question as a transparency and credibility matter.
Earlier this week, ranking Republican members on the three House committees said that the employee — as well as the sources used for the complaint — should be brought in for testimony because “the Committees ought to fully assess the sources and credibility of the employee.” The trio pointed to “inconsistencies between facts as alleged by the employee and information obtained during the so-called impeachment inquiry” as the reason such an assessment is needed.
“Why don’t we know who the person is who started this whole charade that Adam Schiff is now doing in the bunker of the basement of the Capitol?” House Oversight Committee top Republican Jim Jordan asked at a Wednesday press conference. “More importantly, why don’t the American people know?”