Trump Defense Team: Why Don't We Know More About the Whistleblower's Bias?

By Susan Jones | January 25, 2020 | 3:16pm EST
Deputy Counsel to the President Patrick Filbin (Photo: Screen capture)
Deputy Counsel to the President Patrick Filbin (Photo: Screen capture)

( - In two hours on Saturday morning, President Donald Trump's defense team presented fact after fact, including testimony from witnesses called earlier by House Democrats, to dismantle the case it took House impeachment managers almost 24 hours to build.

Patrick Filbin, deputy counsel to the president, was the fourth and final attorney to stand before the Senate on Saturday, to fill in the blanks left by House Democrats -- and to ask senators why the information was omitted.

Filbin, in his "one last point," raised the whistleblower "who started all this."

Filbin told the Senate that Rep. Adam Schiff (D-Calif.), the chairman of the House intelligence committee, is still keeping secrets that would seem to have important bearing on the case:

"I want to touch on one last point before I yield to one of my colleagues, and that relates to the whistleblower," Filbin said.

The whistleblower who we haven't heard that much about, who started all of this. The whistleblower, we know from a letter that the inspector general of the intelligence community sent, that he thought that the whistleblower had political bias.

We don't know exactly what the political bias was because the inspector general testified in the House committees, in an executive session, and that transcript is still secret.

It wasn't transmitted up to the House Judiciary Committee. We haven't seen it, we don't know what is in it. We don't know what he was and what he revealed about the whistleblower.

Now, you would think that before going forward with an impeachment proceeding against the president of the United States that you would want to find out something about the complainant that started all this, because motivations, bias, reasons for wanting to bring this complaint could be relevant. But there wasn't any inquiry into that.

Recent reports, public reports, suggest that potentially the whistleblower ... who was an intelligence committee staffer who worked with then-vice president Biden on Ukraine matters, which if true would suggest an even greater reason for wanting to know about potential bias or motive for the whistleblower.

Filbin played videotape of Schiff saying early on, "We would love to talk to the whistleblower."

But weeks later, Schiff changed his mind -- "We don't need the whistleblower," Schiff said on television.

"What changed?" Filbin asked.

Filbin answered his own question: It turned out that Schiff's staff, "at least" had spoken with the whistleblower before the whistleblower filed the complaint and potentially had given guidance of some sort to the whistleblower.

"And after that point, it became critical to shut down any inquiry into the whistleblower," Filbin said.

And during the House hearings, of course manager Schiff was in charge, he was chairing the hearings; and that creates a real problem from a due process perspective, from a search for truth perspective.

Because he was an interested fact witness at that point. He had a reason, since he had been caught out saying something that wasn't truthful about that contact. He had a reason to not want that inquiry. And it was he who ensured there wasn't any inquiry into that.

Now, this is relevant here, I think, because as you heard from my colleagues, a lot of what we've heard over the past 24 hours over the past three days has been from Chairman Schiff, and he has been telling you things like what's in President Trump's head; what's in President Zelensky's head? It's all his interpretation of the facts and evidence, trying to pull inferences out of things.

Filbin also pointed to Schiff's statements that he had "more than circumstantial evidence" that the Trump campaign colluded with Russia. That also turned out to be untrue, as the Mueller report concluded.

And we wanted to point these things out simply because, for this reason. Chairman Schiff has made so much of the House's case, about the credibility of interpretations that the House managers want to place on not hard evidence, but on inferences.

They want to tell you what Donald Trump thought; they want to tell you, don't believe what Zelensky said, we can tell you what Zelensky actually thought; don't believe what the other Ukrainians actually said about not being pressured, we can tell you what they actually thought.

It is very relevant to know whether the assessments of evidence he's presented in the past are accurate. And we would submit they have not been and that that is relevant for your consideration.


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