Pelosi refers to Sinclair's Rosen as 'Mr. Republican Talking Points' over whistleblower question

Speaker Nancy PelosiNancy PelosiSanders urges impeachment trial 'quickly' in the Senate Tech legal shield included in USMCA despite late Pelosi push GOP senator warns quick vote on new NAFTA would be 'huge mistake' MORE (D-Calif.) during a news conference on Thursday referred to James Rosen as "Mr. Republican Talking Points" after the Sinclair Broadcasting national investigative reporter asked about the legal rights of the whistleblower who sparked an impeachment inquiry into President TrumpDonald John TrumpSanders urges impeachment trial 'quickly' in the Senate US sending 20,000 troops to Europe for largest exercises since Cold War Barr criticizes FBI, says it's possible agents acted in 'bad faith' in Trump probe MORE.

“James Rosen with Sinclair. Thank you, Madam Speaker. We hear it said routinely and of course it’s true that impeachment is a political process, not a legal one," Rosen began. "And yet as we can observe ... we have counsels, depositions, subpoenas, perjury and so forth."

"This was made clear yesterday by [House Intelligence Committee] Chairman [Adam] Schiff [D-Calif.] ... when he reminded the minority that he would do everything necessary to ensure the legal rights of the whistleblower to preserve anonymity ... in this political setting," the veteran journalist continued. "And so I wonder if you could explain to the American people why the legal rights of the whistleblower should prevail in this political setting over those of President Trump, who should ordinarily enjoy a right to confront his accuser?"

ADVERTISEMENT

“I will say this to you, Mr. Republican Talking Points, when you talk about the whistleblower, we’re coming into my wheelhouse," Pelosi responded derisively. "I have more experience in intelligence than anybody in Congress, than anybody who has ever served, 25 years on the committee as top Democrat. I was there when we wrote the whistleblower laws."

"The whistleblower is there to speak truth to power and have protection for doing that, any retribution or harm coming to a whistleblower undermines our ability to hear truth about power," she added.

Rosen again asked why the rights of the whistleblower should supersede that of the president's.

“The president will be held accountable, and nobody should have the right to endanger whistleblowers,” Pelosi said in response.

Rosen was with Fox News until December 2017 after an 18-year stint during which he primarily covered the State Department.

He generated headlines in 2013 after it was revealed the Obama Justice Department spied on him extensively three years earlier as part of a probe into documents leaked to the media.

ADVERTISEMENT

At the time, the Obama Justice Department, led by Attorney General Eric HolderEric Himpton HolderThe shifting impeachment positions of Jonathan Turley Pelosi refers to Sinclair's Rosen as 'Mr. Republican Talking Points' over whistleblower question Krystal Ball: Billionaires panicking over Sanders candidacy MORE, labeled Rosen a "criminal co-conspirator and a flight risk," and had his movements tracked when entering and exiting the State Department. Rosen's phone records and personal emails were searched.

Fox News defended him at the time, saying network officials were "outraged" by the report.

In 2014, Holder said he could have been "a little more careful" during the investigation as it pertained to Rosen.

“I think that I could’ve been a little more careful looking at the language that was contained in the filing that we made with the court. He was labeled as a co-conspirator ... I think that could have been differently, done better," Holder said.

Rosen responded by stating Holder's remarks "scarcely address the relevant facts of his conduct."

Televised public impeachment hearings began Wednesday and will resume Friday morning.

The proceedings will be broadcast live on ABC, NBC, CBS, Fox News, MSNBC, C-SPAN and PBS, among other cable networks.