House Majority Leader Steny HoyerSteny Hamilton HoyerHoyer signals House vote on bill to 'remove' debt limit threat Feehery: Build back bipartisan Bottom line 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."
President TrumpDonald TrumpRobert Gates says 'extreme polarization' is the greatest threat to US democracy Cassidy says he won't vote for Trump if he runs in 2024 Schiff says holding Bannon in criminal contempt 'a way of getting people's attention' 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.
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.