Hoyer calls GOP efforts to out whistleblower 'despicable'

 Hoyer calls GOP efforts to out whistleblower 'despicable'
© Greg Nash

House Majority Leader Steny HoyerSteny Hamilton HoyerHouse poised to hand impeachment articles to Senate House to vote on Iran war powers bills sought by progressives Khanna: Timing of Iran bill being weighed against getting bigger majority MORE (D-Md.) is denouncing efforts by Republicans to win testimony in the impeachment probe from the whistleblower whose report triggered the House inquiry.

Hoyer, the second-ranking Democrat in the House, called the efforts "despicable."

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President TrumpDonald John TrumpNational Archives says it altered Trump signs, other messages in Women's March photo Dems plan marathon prep for Senate trial, wary of Trump trying to 'game' the process Democratic lawmaker dismisses GOP lawsuit threat: 'Take your letter and shove it' MORE and congressional Republicans have been pushing to out the whistleblower, who remains anonymous, and demand the individual's testimony.

"There is no need for this whistleblower, period," Hoyer told reporters in the Capitol. "And every time Republicans continue to harp on the whistleblower is simply and solely and clearly an attempt to not only intimidate this whistleblower, but to intimidate others from coming forward. I think it's despicable."

Hoyer also pointed to Trump's reported comments at a September event with diplomatic officials that the whistleblower is a "spy" who might have committed treason.

"There are criminal statutes which prohibit people from trying to intimidate witnesses," Hoyer added.

Democrats say that the whistleblower's testimony is unnecessary at this point given that they've been able to secure testimony from more than a dozen witnesses corroborating the original complaint.

GOP lawmakers displayed a poster at Wednesday's hearing accusing Schiff of knowing the whistleblower's identity, following a New York Times report that the whistleblower approached a member of his staff before filing the complaint.

Schiff has said he does not know the whistleblower's identity.