Schiff: ‘These Proceedings Will Not Be Used to Out the Whistle-Blower’

By Melanie Arter | November 19, 2019 | 12:42pm EST
 (Photo by ANDREW CABALLERO-REYNOLDS/AFP via Getty Images)

( – Lt. Col. Alexander Vindman, who works for the National Security Council, testified Tuesday that he discussed President Donald Trump’s July 25th phone call with Ukraine with two individuals that were not in the White House.

Rep. Devin Nunes (R-Calif.), ranking member of the House Intelligence Committee, asked Vindman what agencies those individuals worked for but was rebuffed by House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff (D-Calif.), who said the impeachment hearing would not be used to “out the whistle-blower.”


NUNES: Did you discuss the July 25th phone call with anyone outside the White House on July 25th or the 26th and if so, with whom? 

VINDMAN: Yes, I did. My core function is to coordinate U.S. Government policy, interagency policy, and I spoke to two individuals with regards to providing some sort of readout of the call. 

NUNES: Two individuals that were not in the white house. 

VINDMAN: Not in the White House, cleared U.S. government officials with appropriate need to know. 

NUNES: What agencies were these officials with? 

VINDMAN: Department of State, Department of State Deputy Assistant Secretary George Kent who is responsible for the portfolio eastern Europe, including Ukraine, and a individual from the office – individual in the intelligence committee. 

NUNES: As you know, the intelligence community has several different agencies. What agency was this individual from? 

SCHIFF: If I could interject here, we don't want to use these proceedings--

NUNES: It is our time. 

SCHIFF: We need to protect the whistle-blower. Please stop. I want to make sure that there is no effort to out the whistle-blower through these proceedings. If the witness has a good faith belief that this may reveal the identity of the whistle-blower, that is not the purpose that we are here for, and I want to advise the witness accordingly. 

NUNES: Mr. Vindman, you testified in your deposition that you did not know the whistle-blower. 

VINDMAN: Ranking member, it’s Lieutenant Colonel Vindman, please. 

NUNES: Lieutenant Colonel Vindman, you testified in the deposition that you did not know who the whistle-blower was. 

VINDMAN: I do not know who the whistle-blower is. 

NUNES: How is it possible for you to name these people and then out the whistle-blower? 

VINDMAN: For the advice of my counsel, I've been advised not to answer specific questions about members of the intelligence community. 

NUNES: Are you aware of this is the Intelligence Committee that is conducting an impeachment hearing? 

VINDMAN: Of course I am. 

NUNES: Wouldn’t the appropriate place for you to come to, to testify would be the intelligence committee about someone within the intelligence community? 

VINDMAN: Ranking member, per the advice of my counsel and the instructions from the chairman, I have been advised not to provide any specifics on who I have spoken with inside the intelligence community. What I can offer is that these were properly cleared individuals or was a properly cleared individual with a need to know. 

NUNES: You can plead the fifth, but you’re here to answer questions and you’re here under subpoena, so you can either answer the question or you can plead the fifth. 

Vindman’s lawyer interrupted Nunes, saying that he had advised Vindman to follow the ruling of the chair.


COUNSEL: Excuse me, on behalf of my client, we are following the rule of the committee, the rule of the chair with regard to this issue, and this does not call for an answer that is invoking the fifth or any theoretical issue like that. Following the ruling of the chair. 

NUNES: What ruling is that? 

SCHIFF: If I could interject, counsel is correct. Whistle-blower has the statutory right to anonymity. These proceedings will not be used out the whistle-blower. 

COUNSEL: And I have advised my client accordingly, and he is going to follow the ruling of the chair. If there is an alternative or you want to work something out with the chair, that’s up to you, Mr. Nunes. 

NUNES:  We have attempted to subpoena the whistle-blower to sit for a deposition. The chair has tabled that motion and has been unwilling to recognize those motions over the last few days of this impeachment inquisition process. 


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