Speier defends Democrats' decision to keep whistleblower out of public hearings

Speier defends Democrats' decision to keep whistleblower out of public hearings
© Greg Nash

Rep. Jackie SpeierKaren (Jackie) Lorraine Jacqueline SpeierOvernight Defense: House to vote on military justice bill spurred by Vanessa Guillén death | Biden courts veterans after Trump's military controversies House to vote on 'I Am Vanessa Guillén' bill Overnight Defense: Trump's battle with Pentagon poses risks in November | Lawmakers launch Fort Hood probe | Military members can't opt out of tax deferral MORE (D-Calif.) on Sunday defended a decision by House Democrats to keep the whistleblower who spurred the impeachment inquiry into President Trump out of public hearings. 

Speier said  on ABC “This Week” that the Republicans’ request for the whistleblower to testify is grounded in the House minority “making an issue of anything that they think will give them some gravitas.” 

But the House Oversight and Reform Committee member said the whistleblower can’t testify about anything in more detail than other witnesses with more direct knowledge of the allegations against the president. 

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“The only thing that the whistleblower can say is that he was told by other people about the phone call. We have the other people coming forward to actually testify. So you have direct evidence, not indirect evidence,” she said. 

“And the whistleblower has great risk associated with his life right now. And he also has the right under the law, under the whistleblower statute, to have his whistleblower complaint filed and for him to be anonymous,” she continued, adding that Democrats “feel very strongly about whistleblower protection.” 

The whistleblower is among witnesses the GOP has requested testify in the public hearings starting this week. 

Intelligence Chairman Adam SchiffAdam Bennett SchiffTop Democrats call for DOJ watchdog to probe Barr over possible 2020 election influence Overnight Defense: Top admiral says 'no condition' where US should conduct nuclear test 'at this time' | Intelligence chief says Congress will get some in-person election security briefings Overnight Defense: House to vote on military justice bill spurred by Vanessa Guillén death | Biden courts veterans after Trump's military controversies MORE (D-Calif.) said in a letter to Republicans that the whistleblower’s testimony would be “redundant and unnecessary” and said it would place the person at risk, noting the president’s attacks. 

Speier on Sunday defended Schiff’s actions and the fairness of the inquiry, saying that other witnesses the GOP has requested to testify would likely be able to appear.