Whistleblower wants to testify in writing: report

The whistleblower at the center of the House impeachment inquiry wants to testify in writing instead of in person, The Wall Street Journal reports.

Lawyers for the whistleblower have made the request, according to the report. 

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People close to the situation told the Journal that the House and Senate Intelligence committees haven't responded yet to the request.

The Hill has reached out to spokespeople for the two committees for comment.

It's highly unusual for witnesses to testify in writing.

A former congressional intelligence official told the Journal that he has no recollection of a precedent like this ever being set, but that there has never been as high-profile a whistleblower report as this one.

The whistleblower reported on a July 25 phone call between President TrumpDonald John TrumpLawmakers prep ahead of impeachment hearing Democrats gear up for high-stakes Judiciary hearing Warren says she made almost M from legal work over past three decades MORE and Ukraine's president during which Trump pressured his counterpart to open an investigation into former Vice President Joe BidenJoe BidenBiden: Buttigieg 'doesn't have significant black support even in his own city' Biden: 'I'd add' Warren to my list of potential VP picks How can top Democrats run the economy with no business skill? MORE

The report alleges that Trump sought to use the power of his office to hurt a political rival and that officials in the administration, believing the call had gone over the line, sought to cover it up.  

Trump has denied any wrongdoing, saying as recently as Thursday at a rally in Minneapolis that there was nothing wrong with his call and that Democrats are trying to unseat a duly-elected president they cannot beat at the polls.

But Trump's actions have been widely condemned by Democrats and some Republicans have also criticized the communications with Ukraine, though they have argued it does not meet the threshold for impeachment.

Trump has criticized the whistleblower, and the individual's lawyers have sought to protect his identify. 

The Wall Street Journal reported that if the testimony were to be heard in person, it would likely be held in a Sensitive Compartmented Information Facility (SCIF). While Capitol Hill does have these rooms, the logistics would still need to be figured out due to the high volume that the halls of Congress receive.

An individual close to the situation told the news outlet that a possible alternative could be to use an SCIF at an executive branch agency. 

While it's uncertain if the whistleblower's request will be granted, the impeachment inquiry has continued to roll along this week.

On Thursday, House committees reportedly subpoenaed Energy Secretary Rick PerryRick PerryNew Energy secretary cancels Paris trip amid mass strikes against Macron proposal Mellman: The 'lane theory' is the wrong lane to be in Overnight Energy: Critics call EPA air guidance 'an industry dream' | New Energy secretary says Trump wants to boost coal | EPA looks to speed approval of disputed industry pollution permits MORE for documents regarding his communications with Trump and other State Department officials, with an Oct. 18 deadline.