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: Ex-Ukraine ambassador offers dramatic day of testimony | Talks of 'crisis' at State Department | Trump tweets criticism of envoy during hearing | Dems warn against 'witness intimidation' | Trump defends his 'freedom of speech' Democrats say Trump tweet is 'witness intimidation,' fuels impeachment push Democrats seize on new evidence in first public impeachment hearing 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 SchiffGOP divided over impeachment trial strategy READ: Top NSC aide Tim Morrison's closed-door impeachment inquiry testimony Top NSC aide puts Sondland at front lines of Ukraine campaign, speaking for Trump 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.