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 will be out of session for additional week in September The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by the Air Line Pilots Association - Negotiators 'far apart' as talks yield little ahead of deadline On The Money: Pessimism grows as coronavirus talks go down to the wire | Jobs report poised to light fire under COVID-19 talks | Tax preparers warn unemployment recipients could owe IRS 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 TrumpTeachers union launches 0K ad buy calling for education funding in relief bill FDA head pledges 'we will not cut corners' on coronavirus vaccine Let our values drive COVID-19 liability protection 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.