Senate

Senate Intel chair doesn't want whistleblower's identity disclosed

Senate Intelligence Committee Chairman Richard Burr (R-N.C.) said on Thursday that he does not think the identity of the whistleblower at the center of the House impeachment inquiry should be publicly disclosed. 

 

Asked by reporters if he wanted the individual's identity to be made public, Burr told reporters that he "never" thought that. 

 

"We protect whistleblowers. We protect witnesses in our committee," Burr added.

 

His comments come as President Trump and some of his allies on Capitol Hill have called for the whistleblower to come forward and for the individual's name to be publicly released.  

 

"[But] I think we should allow the president to know who the accuser is. And I think the whistleblower statute is being terribly abused here," Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.), the chairman of the Judiciary Committee, told reporters earlier this week.

Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) also called for the media to publicly out the whistleblower during a rally with Trump in Kentucky - to the consternation of many of his colleagues - telling reporters: "Do your job and print his name." 

 

Burr's committee is reviewing the process behind the whistleblower complaint, the handling of which created a high-profile split within the administration. 

 

The complaint - tied to Trump asking Ukraine to open a probe into former Vice President Joe Biden and his son Hunter Biden - is also at the center of the House impeachment inquiry, which is looking into whether or not Trump conditioned aid to the country on it agreeing to open up an investigation. 

 

Burr, however, does want to speak with the whistleblower as part of his committee's investigation into the process. 

 

Lawyers for the whistleblower have offered to have the individual provide written answers to questions under oath. But Burr told The Hill late last week that the setup was "not acceptable."

 

"We have a proven track record of protecting people's identity," Burr added at the time. 

He added on Thursday that he believed the whistleblower's attorneys had done a "reversal" since they made initial contact about making the individual available. 

"I just think that they were disingenuous when they ... sent us a letter saying how anxious they were to come before the committee," he added.

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