PI firm claims Hunter Biden is subject of criminal probes, whistleblower was on ex-VP’s secret Ukraine flight

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Media plays defense for Joe Biden amid Ukraine scandal

Reaction and analysis from Fox News contributor Charlie Hurt and Women for Trump national co-chair Gina Loudon.

A private investigation firm made a bizarre intervention in an Arkansas court case concerning custody of Hunter Biden's alleged love child Monday, claiming in an explosive filing that former vice president Joe Biden's son is dodging their discovery requests and is "the subject of more than one criminal investigation involving fraud, money laundering and a counterfeiting scheme."

On the same day that D&A Investigations filed its "Notice of Fraud and Counterfeiting and Production of Evidence", which was first reported by The Daily Mail and obtained by Fox News, Lunden Alexis Roberts authored her own motion seeking "primary physical and legal custody" of the child she said she had with Biden. Lunden also demanded attorneys' fees and a hearing concerning visitation rights.

READ THE PRIVATE INVESTIGATOR REPORT ON BIDEN'S ALLEGED 'CRIMINAL' INVOLVEMENT

The court in Independence County, Ark. quickly struck the D&A filing from the record, saying it violated state procedural rules for joining an ongoing case as an intervening party. Ordinarily, the rules require that intervening parties share a "question of law or fact in common" with the existing case.

Hunter Biden, in his own motion to strike the firm's claims, told the court that the allegations were false and scandalous, and a transparent attempt to garner media attention.

D&A told Fox News Tuesday to expect an additional filing soon — and hinted that more incriminating details concerning Hunter Biden's business dealings would soon come to light.

READ LUNDEN ROBERTS' MOTION FOR CUSTODY

The firm, which worked with Casey Anthony's defense team, separately told Fox News that its investigators have found that the intelligence community whistleblower at the center of the Democrats' impeachment against President Trump accompanied Joe Biden when he traveled to Ukraine in March 2016 and pressured the country's government to fire its top prosecutor by threatening to withhold $1 billion in U.S. aid.

"I said, I’m telling you, you’re not getting the billion dollars," Biden boasted at a conference after leaving office. "I said, you’re not getting the billion. I’m going to be leaving here in –, I think it was about six hours. I looked at them and said: I’m leaving in six hours. If the prosecutor is not fired, you’re not getting the money. Well, son of a b–ch. He got fired. And they put in place someone who was solid at the time."

However, publicly available records show that Joe Biden did not officially travel to Ukraine in 2016.

Hunter Biden and Joe Biden pictured in April 2016. (Photo by Teresa Kroeger/Getty Images for World Food Program USA)

Hunter Biden and Joe Biden pictured in April 2016. (Photo by Teresa Kroeger/Getty Images for World Food Program USA)

In its filing, D&A investigations asserted that Hunter Biden and his business associates "established bank and financial accounts with Morgan Stanley et al" for the Ukrainian natural gas company Burisma Holdings Limited for a "money laundering scheme," among other ventures.

One alleged scheme "accumulated $156,073,944.24," according to the document.

D&A claimed its filing was necessary because Biden was failing to answer "reasonable" and "basic" questions, and said it had been "actively investigating" Biden and his partners "since 8 August 2016."

Hunter Biden was a board member of Burisma, which had been under investigation before then-Vice President Joe Biden pressured Ukraine to fire its top prosecutor. In his July 25 call with Ukraine's president that ultimately led to his impeachment, President Trump suggested the Ukrainians look into the circumstances of the prosecutor's termination, including Joe Biden's boast that he had the prosecutor fired.

"Biden went around bragging that he stopped the prosecution, so if you can look into it…It sounds horrible to me," Trump said on the phone call. State Department officials flagged Hunter Biden's apparent conflict of interest at the time but were shrugged off by the vice president's office.

Joe Biden has denied knowing anything about his son's business dealings. Fox News has obtained a photograph showing the former vice president golfing with Hunter and a Burisma executive, and Hunter Biden has previously said he discussed his business dealings on one occasion with his father.

JOE BIDEN SAYS HE WON'T APPEAR VOLUNTARILY AT GOP-LED SENATE IMPEACHMENT TRIAL

The 28-year-old Roberts, in her filing, said Hunter Biden has "had no involvement in the child's life since the child's birth, never interacted with the child, never parented the child," and "could not identify the child out of a photo lineup."

DNA tests have allegedly confirmed "with scientific certainty" that Hunter Biden is the biological father of Roberts' baby, according to court documents filed in November.

Joe Biden tangled with a Fox News reporter when asked about that development.

Joe Biden on son Hunter's paternity case: 'That's a private matter, I have no comment'Video

“I’m wondering if you have a comment on this report, and court filing, out of Arkansas that your son Hunter just made you a grandfather again,” Fox News’ Peter Doocy asked.

“No, that’s a private matter and I have no comment,” Biden fired back before attacking the reporter.

“Only you would ask that,” Biden said. “You’re a good man. You’re a good man. Classy.”

Earlier this month, Hunter Biden's private life again spilled out into the public sphere when Rep. Matt Gaetz, R-Fla., brought up his admitted past substance abuse issues.

The Florida lawmaker referenced an article published this past July in The New Yorker, which included interviews with Hunter Biden and reported on a 2016 car accident the younger Biden was involved in. According to that story, employees at a rental car agency claimed they found a crack pipe inside the vehicle. It also quoted Hunter Biden describing his attempts to buy crack cocaine in a Los Angeles homeless encampment.

WATCH: GAETZ HAMMERS BIDEN DRUG USE, AND DEM REP RESPONDS IN KIND

“I found this very extensive profile in The New Yorker,” Gaetz said before detailing some of the article’s more sordid details on Biden. “I don’t want to make light of anybody’s substance abuse issues, I know the president is working real hard to solve those throughout the country, but it’s a little hard to believe that Burisma hired Hunter Biden to resolve their international disputes when he could not resolve his own dispute with Hertz rental car over leaving cocaine and a crack pipe in the car.”

Republican lawmakers have questioned why Hunter Biden was being paid upwards of $50,000 a month by Burisma at the same time his father was leading the Obama administration's diplomatic dealings with Kiev. Though the timing raised concerns among anti-corruption advocates, neither the former vice president nor his son has been formally accused of breaking the law.

Fox News' Brian Flood contributed to this report.

Original Article

Whistleblower attorney responds to Turley tweet: ‘I’d take demands to be fired over death threats any day’

closeJudge Andrew Napolitano praises Jonathan Turley's 'brilliant analogy' for House Democrats' impeachment pushVideo

Judge Andrew Napolitano praises Jonathan Turley's 'brilliant analogy' for House Democrats' impeachment push

Professor Jonathan Turley cites Robert Bolt's play 'A Man for All Seasons' in his impeachment testimony; reaction from Fox News senior judicial analyst Judge Andrew Napolitano.

Mark Zaid, the attorney for the Ukraine whistleblower at the center of impeachment proceedings against President Trump, responded to allegations by the sole Republican witness during Wednesday's hearing that he'd been inundated with threats and demands that he be fired from George Washington University.

"I'd take demands to be fired over death threats any day," Zaid tweeted Thursday in response to law professor Johnathan Turley.

"I receive constant harassing emails, letters, voicemails, to include death threats investigated by the FBI," Zaid elaborated to Fox News on Thursday night.

Bradley Moss, an attorney at Zaid's Washington D.C-based law firm, initially responded to Turley: "Want me to lay the lovely death threats I got after the president attacked Mark and the whistleblower at a rally?" Zaid followed up with his own tweet. He later joked, "Fortunately I can't be fired. But I could be persuaded to fire Brad."

Turley had finished testifying before the House Judiciary Committee's first public hearing Wednesday when he said he was "inundated with threatening messages" afterward. His testimony largely countered that of three legal scholars called by the Democrats, with Turley saying the party did not have strong evidence to support articles of impeachment.

Neither Turley nor Bradley immediately responded to Fox News' requests for comment Thursday night.

The anonymous whistleblower filed the complaint earlier this year about Trump's July 25 phone call with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, in which he asked for Zelensky to assist in the investigations of alleged Democratic activities during the 2016 election, as well as former vice president Joe Biden and his son Hunter, particularly Hunter Biden's business dealings with Ukrainian energy company Burisma Holdings.

During his testimony, Turley warned Democrats that an impeachment vote would be ill-advised because they don't have a complete record of witness testimonies and supporting evidence.

TURLEY SAYS HE'S BEEN 'INUNDATED' WITH THREATS SINCE HOUSE TESTIMONY

"My objection is not that you cannot impeach Trump for abuse of power but that this record is comparably thin compared to past impeachments and contains conflicts, contradictions and gaps, including various witnesses not subpoenaed," Turley said.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., said Thursday that Democrats would move with articles of impeachment anyway.

Zaid previously used Twitter to rail against Trump and criticize his administration before the whistleblower complaint. In February 2017, weeks after Trump took office, he tweeted: "Every day that goes by brings us closer to impeachment."

In another post, he called Trump the "worst presidential choice in modern history." He told Fox News in November the tweets were written on the belief that Trump would be “stepping over the line” at some point during his presidency.

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In response to the tweets, Trump blasted Zaid at a Louisiana rally last month, calling him "disgraceful."

“Based on the information released last night about the Fake Whistleblowers attorney, the Impeachment Hoax should be ended IMMEDIATELY!” Trump wrote in a Nov. 7 tweet. “There is no case, except against the other side!”

Fox News' Vandana Rambaran and Ronn Blitzer contributed to this report.

Original Article

Trump knew about whistleblower complaint before Ukraine aid released

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Mike Pompeo, Secretary of State, discusses the

President Trump was briefed about the whistleblower complaint prompted by his dealings with Kiev before the White House lifted a hold on more than $391 million in aid to Ukraine, according to people familiar with the matter.

DEMS' DOOMSDAY SCENARIO: COULD MODERATES SCUTTLE IMPEACHMENT PLANS

The president was briefed about the complaint in August by White House counsel Pat Cipollone and John Eisenberg, an attorney with the White House National Security Council, the people said. The complaint triggered the impeachment inquiry by Democrats in the House, which Trump has dismissed as a hoax.

The inquiry alleges that Trump abused the power of his office by pressing Ukraine to open investigations that could benefit him politically at a time when he had ordered congressionally approved Ukraine aid put on hold. The White House has defended the president’s actions, in part by saying there was no link between suspending the aid and the president’s request for investigations because the hold on the money was lifted in September.

The August briefing Trump received from the White House lawyers, which was earlier reported by the New York Times, indicates Trump was aware of the whistleblower complaint before he ordered the hold on aid lifted.

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A White House spokeswoman didn’t respond to a request for comment.

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Original Article

Trump calls for Senate trial, seeks whistleblower and Schiff as impeachment witnesses

closePresident Trump calls into 'Fox & Friends' after week of public impeachment hearingsVideo

President Trump calls into 'Fox &amp; Friends' after week of public impeachment hearings

President Donald Trump phones into 'Fox &amp; Friends' to react to the impeachment inquiry testimony, upcoming FISA report release, 2020 Democrat primary race and more.

President Trump, during a wide-ranging interview Friday morning with “Fox & Friends,” called for a Senate trial should the House impeach him and pressed for House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff, the whistleblower and others to be called as witnesses.

Calling into “Fox & Friends” after a packed week of hearings where a parade of witnesses alleged high-level involvement in efforts to pressure Ukraine to investigate Democrats while aid was withheld, Trump blasted the inquiry as “a continuation of the witch hunt” and downplayed the impact of the testimony.

TRUMP CALLS UPCOMING FISA REPORT 'HISTORIC'

“There’s nothing there,” Trump declared, claiming "there should never be an impeachment" and he “doesn’t know” the majority of the witnesses.

But following a meeting with senators a day earlier, the president announced on the show that if the House impeaches, "Frankly, I want a trial."

He stressed that Senate trial would provide the opportunity to call other witnesses — including Hunter Biden, whose dealings in Ukraine were at the heart of what he wanted investigated out of Kiev, and especially Schiff.

“There’s only one person I want more than, where’s Hunter, and that is Adam Schiff,” Trump said.

Blasting Schiff's dramatized reading (later described as a parody) of the now-infamous phone call with Ukraine's president and challenging his claims not to know the whistleblower, Trump said: "I want to see Adam Schiff testify about the whistleblower."

He went on to say he also wants to hear from the "fake whistleblower," saying he and "everybody" know the identity and alleging they filed a "false report" on his July 25 with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky.

“I want the whistleblower, who put in a false report, to testify,” Trump said, adding that he believes the individual “is a political operative.”

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At the center of the impeachment inquiry, which began in September, is Trump’s July 25 phone call with Kiev. That call prompted the whistleblower complaint to the intelligence community inspector general, and in turn, the impeachment inquiry in the House.

The president’s request came after millions in U.S. military aid to Ukraine had been frozen, which Democrats and witnesses have claimed shows a "quid pro quo" arrangement. Trump denies that.

Schiff, D-Calif., is leading impeachment inquiry proceedings in the House, and concluded five days of public hearings late Thursday.

This week, the House Intelligence Committee heard testimony from aide to Vice President Mike Pence, Jennifer Williams; National Security Council official Lt. Col. Alexander Vindman; former U.S. Special Envoy to Ukraine Amb. Kurt Volker; former National Security Council aide Tim Morrison; ambassador to the European Union Gordon Sondland; Pentagon official Laura Cooper, State Department official David Hale; State Department official David Holmes and former National Security Council senior director Dr. Fiona Hill.

The president claimed Friday that he “hardly knows” Sondland, who testified for hours on Wednesday. Sondland said that there was, in fact, a “quid pro quo” tying a White House meeting to the push for investigations — concerning former Vice President Joe Biden's role ousting a prosecutor who had been looking into Ukrainian natural gas firm Burisma, where his son Hunter worked on the board. Sondland described a potential quid pro quo linked to the military aid, but said he never heard that directly from Trump.

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Trump also said he did not know Volker, while saying he “only had a couple of conversations with [Sondland].”

“He was really the ambassador to the E.U., and all of a sudden, he’s working on this,” Trump said.

But Sondland and Hill testified this week that the president tasked Sondland with Ukraine efforts.

Trump also went on to blast Holmes, who testified on Thursday that he overheard a conversation between Trump and Sondland on July 26.

“How about that guy with the telephone? I guarantee that never took place,” Trump said. “I have really good hearing and I’ve watched guys for 40 years making phone calls and I can’t hear the other side.”

Trump also went on to blast fired U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine Marie Yovanovitch, who testified before the committee last week, calling her “an Obama person,” and saying she was “rude.”

“This was not an angel, this woman, and okay, there were a lot of things she did that I didn’t like, but I just want you to know, this is not a baby we’re dealing with,” Trump said.

During Yovanovitch’s hearing last week, the president criticized her record via Twitter—a move which Schiff, Yovanovitch and others characterized as witness intimidation.

Meanwhile, Trump maintained that there was “no quid pro quo” and that he wanted “nothing” from Ukraine.

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Should the House introduce articles of impeachment, all that is needed to impeach Trump is a simple majority vote by those lawmakers present and voting. But at that point, removal from the Oval Office is hardly a certainty. The Senate would have to hold a trial.

While some Senate Republicans have voiced concerns about Trump's actions, impeachment does not at this stage appear to have enough support in the Senate to threaten Trump in the long run. Most GOP senators have stopped short of condemning the president for his controversial phone call, while others have outright defended him.

The president, though, touted the GOP's unity on Friday.

"The Republican Party has never been more unified," Trump said. "In the Senate and the House, Mitch [McConnell], Lindsey [Graham], I could name 20 names up there."

He added: "The Republicans, I have never seen anything like it, they're sticking together."

Original Article

FBI has reportedly sought interview with Ukraine whistleblower

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President Trump addresses the testimony of Ambassador Sondland.

The FBI last month reportedly requested an interview with the whistleblower who made the complaint about President Trump’s July 25 phone call with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky and sparked the ongoing impeachment inquiry in the House.

A source familiar with the situation told The Associated Press on Wednesday that an agent from the bureau's Washington field office reached out to the whistleblower’s lawyers.

The source added that it was clear from the FBI that the whistleblower was not regarded as the target of any investigation but rather a potential witness. It was not immediately clear what specifically the FBI might be looking into. The requested interview has not taken place.

TRUMP IMPEACHMENT HEARINGS: LIVE UPDATES FROM DAY FOUR

Yahoo News first reported on the FBI’s request.

The whistleblower, a CIA officer, filed a complaint on Aug. 12 about Trump’s phone call weeks earlier with Zelensky. During the call, it's been alleged, Trump pressed for investigations into Democratic rival Joe Biden, his son Hunter, and their business dealings in that country, among other things.

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A rough transcript of the call was released in September by the White House. The Democratic-controlled House has subsequently opened an impeachment inquiry centered on Trump’s effort to seek political investigations at the same time the U.S. was withholding hundreds of millions of dollars in military aid from Ukraine.

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Trump has said he wants to know the identity of the whistleblower. House Democrats have said they do not need to hear from the whistleblower as part of the impeachment inquiry and have heard now from multiple witnesses who, unlike the whistleblower, listened to the actual call between the two leaders.

Ambassador Sondland: 'Trump never told me aid was conditioned,' it was my 'personal guess'Video

U.S. whistleblower laws exist to protect the identity and careers of people who bring forward accusations of wrongdoing by government officials. Lawmakers in both parties have historically backed those protections.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Original Article

Republicans seek to subpoena Hunter Biden, Ukraine whistleblower, DNC files

closeRep. Nunes makes opening statement ahead of Ambassador Sondland's testimony in the Trump impeachment inquiryVideo

Rep. Nunes makes opening statement ahead of Ambassador Sondland's testimony in the Trump impeachment inquiry

House Intelligence Committee Ranking Member Devin Nunes gives his opening statement ahead of former U.S. Ambassador to the European Union Gordon Sondland Capitol Hill testimony.

The top Republican on the House Intelligence Committee has sent a letter to Chairman Adam Schiff asking that Hunter Biden and the whistleblower whose complaint sparked the ongoing impeachment inquiry into President Trump be subpoenaed to appear before the committee.

Rep. Devin Nunes, R-Calif., along with Rep. Jim Jordan, R-Ohio, penned a scathing letter to Schiff in which they slammed the “sham ‘impeachment inquiry’” and notified the chairman of their intent to subpoena Biden and the whistleblower. Jordan, the ranking member of the House Oversight and Reform Committee, has been appointed as a temporary member of the House Intelligence Committee.

“The American people understand how you have affirmatively prevented Republicans from examining serious issues directly relevant to the issues,” the two GOP lawmakers told Schiff in their letter. “Therefore, to provide some basic level of fairness and objectivity to your ‘impeachment inquiry,’ we intend to subpoena the anonymous whistleblower and Hunter Biden for sworn testimony in closed-door depositions.”

READ: GORDON SONDLAND'S IMPEACHMENT HEARING OPENING STATEMENT

Nunes and Jordan added that they plan to subpoena the whistleblower’s documents and communications regarding the complaint, the records surrounding Hunter Biden’s role on the board of the Ukrainian energy company Burisma Holdings and the Democratic National Committee’s communications with Ukrainian officials and records relating to Alexandra Chalupa.

A Ukrainian-American consultant for the Democratic National Committee, Chalupa allegedly had meetings with officials at the Ukrainian Embassy in Washington, D.C. to discuss incriminating information about Trump campaign officials during the 2016 presidential election.

This is the second letter that Nunes has sent to Schiff that relayed his intentions to call the whistleblower and Hunter Biden.

Earlier this month, Nunes sent a similar letter to Schiff about wanting those witnesses, but it remains unclear how many of the Republicans’ proposed witnesses will be approved by Schiff. A recently approved resolution governing the impeachment inquiry gave the approval power to the chairman and the members of the majority.

"To provide transparency to your otherwise opaque and unfair process, and after consultation with [House Oversight Committee] Ranking Member Jim Jordan and [House Foreign Affairs Committee] Ranking Member Michael McCaul, the American people deserve to hear from the following witnesses in an open setting," Nunes said in his earlier letter.

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The impeachment inquiry began when a whistleblower reported that Trump had pushed Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky to launch a public investigation into the Biden family’s dealings in Ukraine—specifically, why former Vice President Joe Biden pressured former Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko to fire a top prosecutor, Viktor Shokin, who was investigating Ukrainian natural gas firm Burisma Holdings.

Hunter Biden worked for a Ukrainian gas company at the same time his father was leading the Obama administration's diplomatic dealings with Kiev. Though the timing raised concerns among anti-corruption advocates, there has been no evidence of wrongdoing by the former vice president or his son.

Fox News’ Brooke Singman and The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Original Article

Schiff scrambles to stop whistleblower from being named, after Vindman reveals intel contact

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'We need to protect the whistleblower': Schiff

Under questioning from Rep. Devin Nunes, Lt. Col. Vindman admits he spoke to two individuals outside the White House about President Trump’s classified phone call

House Intelligence Committee Chairman Rep. Adam Schiff, D-Calif., and the committee's ranking member Rep. Devin Nunes. R-Calif., clashed during Tuesday's impeachment inquiry hearing after Schiff suggested Nunes' questions could lead to the outing of the anonymous whistleblower who filed the complaint about President Trump.

Lt. Col. Alexander Vindman, an Army officer at the National Security Council, told Nunes that he spoke with two people outside the White House about Trump's July 25 call with Ukrainian President Voldomyr Zelensky in the immediate wake of the interaction, including State Department official George Kent and one member of the "intelligence community."

Nunes then pressed Vindman about which agency the intelligence community member hailed from.

Schiff jumped in to interrupt the exchange, apparently worried the exchange could name the whistleblower — though Vindman later insisted he doesn't know who the whistleblower is.

House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff, D-Calif., center, flanked by House Democratic Counsel Daniel Goldman, left, and ranking member Devin Nunes, R-Calif., uses his gavel as former U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine Marie Yovanovitch testifies before the House Intelligence Committee on Capitol Hill in Washington, Friday, Nov. 15, 2019, in the second public impeachment hearing of President Donald Trump's efforts to tie U.S. aid for Ukraine to investigations of his political opponents. (AP Photo/Susan Walsh)

House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff, D-Calif., center, flanked by House Democratic Counsel Daniel Goldman, left, and ranking member Devin Nunes, R-Calif., uses his gavel as former U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine Marie Yovanovitch testifies before the House Intelligence Committee on Capitol Hill in Washington, Friday, Nov. 15, 2019, in the second public impeachment hearing of President Donald Trump's efforts to tie U.S. aid for Ukraine to investigations of his political opponents. (AP Photo/Susan Walsh)

WHITE HOUSE OFFICIAL DESCRIBES TRUMP CALL AS 'IMPROPER," SAYS HE ALERTED INTEL OFFICIAL

"If I can interject here, we don't want to use these proceedings … I want to make sure there's no effort to out the whistleblower through the use of these proceedings," Schiff said.

"It's our time, Mr. Chair," Nunes shot back.

Schiff continued: "If the witness has a good faith belief that this may reveal the identity of the whistleblower, that is not the purpose that we are here for."

Nunes then pressed Vindman on the fact he testified in his deposition that he did not know the whistleblower, asking "How it is possible for you to name these people and then out the whistleblower?"

Vindman cited his lawyer's advice and Schiff's ruling as a reason to not answer Nunes' question.

"Are you aware that this is the Intelligence Committee that's conducting this impeachment hearing?" Nunes asked. "Wouldn't the appropriate place for you to come to testify would be the Intelligence Committee about someone within the intelligence community?"

Eventually, Vindman's lawyer jumped in to make clear that Vindman was not invoking his Fifth Amendment rights, as Nunes implied, but simply following Schiff's ruling. This prompted Schiff to jump in again, citing a whistleblower's legal protections.

"The whistleblower has right, the statutory right to anonymity, these proceedings will not be used to out the whistleblower," he said.

Nunes then mentioned that Republicans had made efforts to speak with the whistleblower but had been stymied by Democrats.

"We've attempted to subpoena the whistleblower to sit for a deposition," he said. "The chair has tabled that motion and has been unwilling to recognize those motions over the last few days of this impeachment inquisition process."

Tuesday’s sessions at the House Intelligence Committee started with Vindman and Jennifer Williams, an aide to Vice President Mike Pence.

The witnesses, both foreign policy experts, previously said they listened with concern as Trump spoke with the newly elected Ukraine president. An intelligence community whistleblower complaint about Trump's call with Zelensky touched off impeachment investigations in the House of Representatives and eventually the passage of a resolution formalizing procedures for the inquiry before the beginning of public hearings last week.

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On the phone call, Trump asked Zelensky to investigate Burisma Holdings — a Ukrainian gas company that 2020 contender Joe Biden's son, Hunter, previously worked for as a board member despite holding few qualifications related to Ukraine or gas — and a largely discredited theory that Ukraine interfered against Trump in the 2016 presidential election. Democrats have accused Trump of withholding an Oval Office meeting and almost $400 million in military aid from Zelensky as leverage to persuade him to pursue those investigations, which would have been politically beneficial to Trump.

Later Tuesday, Kurt Volker, the former U.S. envoy to Ukraine and Tim Morrison, who was previously the top adviser on the National Security Council handling Russian and European affairs, will publicly testify.

Fox News' Brooke Singman, Gregg Re and The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Original Article

Bannon says he wanted alleged whistleblower booted from NSC over leak concerns

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President Trump calls out 'fake whistleblower'

White House aides insist that Ukraine whistleblower should be questioned; chief White House correspondent John Roberts reports.

Former top White House adviser Steve Bannon confirmed in a recent interview that he once tried to have the alleged Ukraine whistleblower booted from the National Security Council (NSC) at the White House over concerns of information leaks.

Although Bannon, who resigned in August 2017, went on to argue it was not "important" to identify the whistleblower publicly, he asserted that it nevertheless was appropriate for Republicans to conduct a "thorough investigation" of the person's intentions and past associations. The New York Times has identified the whistleblower as a former CIA operative who was detailed to the White House.

"When I was in the White House, there were a number of people in the National Security Council — the named individual eventually got let go, I believe because people were suspicious, not me, but other people around him were suspicious of his leaking, and that’s why he was let go," Bannon told VICE, without naming the whistleblower.

Bannon added it was "absolutely true" that he wanted to get the alleged whistleblower "out of the National Security Council."

Fox News has reported that the Ukraine whistleblower has been subject to an Intelligence Community Inspector General (ICIG) complaint concerning fundraising efforts. And, the whistleblower's lead attorney openly tweeted in 2017 about the beginning of a "coup" that would result in the impeachment of President Trump.

'WHISTLEBLOWER-ON-WHISTLEBLOWER': NEW ICIG COMPLAINT SAYS UKRAINE WHISTLEBLOWER ILLEGALLY RAISING FUNDS

Democrats who previously called for the whistleblower to testify openly have since insisted on anonymity after it emerged that the whistleblower did not disclose to the ICIG his contact with House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff’s staff. Schiff, D-Calif., has admitted since that he should have been "much more clear" about his contacts with the whistleblower, after contradicting his own televised statements on the matter.

Eight witnesses slated for jam-packed week of public impeachment hearingsVideo

Bannon said he was confirming a report in The Washington Times. The former White House strategist's remarks to VICE were flagged by The Daily Caller.

Separately in the interview, Bannon praised House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., as a shrewd politician, saying she's long schemed to retake control of the House and impeach the president. Bannon said he could tell when he met with Pelosi just days into the Trump administration that she was a masterful party leader.

Discussions of impeachment began almost immediately after Trump took office in 2017, and intensified after Democrats retook the House in 2018 — bolstering GOP allegations that the proceedings have been little more than political theater. Fox News has confirmed that Democrats most recently have been accusing Trump of "bribery," as opposed to a "quid pro quo" to secure political investigations by using financial assistance as leverage, because of focus group testing.

"It's going to be a conditional acquittal — a pound of flesh is going to be taken."

— Former White House adviser Steve Bannon

Bannon remarked that it would be "missing the point" to assume that impeachment was irrelevant simply because Trump likely would be acquitted in any impeachment trial in the GOP-controlled Senate.

"It's going to be a conditional acquittal — a pound of flesh is going to be taken, and I think that's gonna blunt the arc of the Trump presidency," Bannon said. "To me, this thing is a dogfight."

'COUP HAS STARTED,' WHISTLEBLOWER ATTORNEY SAYS IN 2017 TWEETS VOWING IMPEACHMENT

Bannon said the possibility of Trump's removal was "remote almost to the point of zero," but his "bigger concern" was that corporate influences involved in the Senate process would extract some changes in Trump's agenda — for example, by curbing his ongoing trade war with China or his determination to "end foreign wars."

Asked why he was sticking with Trump even after the president claimed to have fired him, and later called him "Sloppy Steve," Bannon called Trump the "leader" of a populist movement he's spent ten years working to help build.

Additionally, Bannon dismissed media reports that it was a settled question that Russia alone interfered in the 2016 elections. Bannon said he had seen intelligence reports to indicate that Ukraine could bear some responsibility — and noted that the Justice Department has not served dozens of subpoenas related to further inquiry into the matter.

John Solomon, currently a Fox News contributor, interviewed Yuriy Lutsenko, a former prosecutor general in Ukraine, this past March. Lutsenko claimed Marie Yovanovitch, the former U.S. ambassador to Ukraine who testified last week in Democrats' impeachment inquiry, had given him a "do not prosecute" list. And, Solomon reported that Yovanovitch pressured Ukrainian prosecutors to back off a case involving the AntiCorruption Action Centre, funded by Goerge Soros, the liberal megadonor.

The U.S. Embassy under Yovanovitch, Solomon reported, also influenced Ukraine to drop prosecution against top law enforcement official Artem Sytnyk, who was singled out by a Ukrainian court for leaking damaging information about Paul Manafort, then Trump's campaign chairman, to help Hillary Clinton in the 2016 presidential election. Ukraine courts have ruled that the Manafort financial disclosures constituted illegal election meddling.

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Ukraine systematically worked behind the scenes to boost Clinton, Politico has reported. On his call with Ukraine's president in July, Trump specifically called for a probe into reports that Ukraine had some involvement in 2016 election interference, before he mentioned taking a look at Joe Biden's business dealings in the country.

Though multiple reports, including one from The Associated Press, indicated Lutsenko had recanted his claims about Yovanovitch, Lutsenko said he had not — a revelation later confirmed by The New York Times.

Original Article

Johnson says whistleblower complaint will make foreign relations tough for future presidents

closeSen. Johnson: All whistleblowers are not created equalVideo

Sen. Johnson: All whistleblowers are not created equal

Wisconsin Republican Sen. Ron Johnson says he believes whistleblowers deserve protection against retaliation.

Sen. Ron Johnson, R-Wis., said Sunday the whistleblower’s complaint about President Trump’s July 25 phone call with the Ukrainian president is going to make it difficult for future presidents to have private conversations with fellow world leaders.

"You know it's going to be very difficult for future presidents to have a candid conversation with a world leader because now we’ve set the precedent of leaking transcripts, the weakening of executive privilege is not good," Johnson said on NBC's "Meet the Press."

TRUMP DEFENDS TWEETING ABOUT YOVANOVITCH DURING HER TESTIMONY: 'I HAVE THE RIGHT TO SPEAK'

Johnson added: "If the whistleblower's goal is to improve President Trump's relationship with Ukraine he utterly failed.”

Trump rips witness on TwitterVideo

Johnson, a member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, also dismissed the allegations at the heart of the House impeachment inquiry that Trump made a military aid package to Ukraine contingent on Kiev publicly investigating former Vice President Joe Biden and his son Hunter’s dealings in the eastern European nation.

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Democrats argue that there is evidence of “quid pro quo” during the phone call and that Trump made the release of military aid to Ukraine contingent on Kiev investigating Biden – one of the president’s main 2020 political challengers – and his son. Hunter Biden was on the board of Ukrainian natural gas firm, Burisma Holdings, which in 2015 was subject to an investigation by Ukrainian officials.

The whistleblower complaint, which concerned the purported “quid pro quo” Trump laid out in the phone call, sparked the impeachment inquiry and the president has since been highly critical of the unnamed person – questioning the whistleblower’s credibility and asking for the disclosure of the person’s name.

Original Article

Pelosi warns Trump not to intimidate whistleblower: ‘You’re in my wheelhouse’

closeSchiff accuses Trump of witness intimidationVideo

Schiff accuses Trump of witness intimidation

President Trump tweeted about the ex-ambassador to Ukraine, Marie Yovanovitch, during her testimony on Friday; Jon Decker reports from the White House.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., gave strict orders to President Trump not to “intimidate” the whistleblower who sparked the House impeachment inquiry into the president – telling Trump that he was in her “wheelhouse” if he attempted to go after the anonymous source.

"I will make sure he does not intimidate the whistleblower," Pelosi said during an interview on CBS' "Face The Nation.” "I told the president you're in my wheelhouse when you come after the whistleblower."

Pelosi’s words come as the House Intelligence Committee is in the midst of public hearings with officials about Trump’s now infamous July 25 phone call with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky where he asked him to investigate former Vice President Joe Biden and his son, Hunter, over their business dealings in the eastern European nation.

TRUMP DEFENDS TWEETING ABOUT YOVANOVITCH DURING HER TESTIMONY: 'I HAVE THE RIGHT TO SPEAK'

Democrats argue that there is evidence of “quid pro quo” during the phone call and that Trump made the release of military aid to Ukraine contingent on Kiev investigating Biden – one of the president’s main 2020 political challengers – and his son. Hunter Biden was on the board of Ukrainian natural gas firm, Burisma Holdings, which in 2015 was subject to an investigation by Ukrainian officials.

The whistleblower complaint, which concerned the purported “quid pro quo” Trump laid out in the phone call, sparked the impeachment inquiry and the president has since been highly critical of the unnamed person – questioning the whistleblower’s credibility and asking for the disclosure of the person’s name.

President Trump calls out 'fake whistleblower'Video

Earlier this month, Trump also called on the media to find out and disseminate the name of the whistleblower – prompting the person’s lawyers to send a cease-and-desist letter to the White House.

Pelosi said it was of utmost importance to protect the whistleblower’s identity given Trump’s attacks.

"This is really important, especially when it comes to intelligence, that someone who would be courageous enough to point out truth to power and then through the filter of a Trump-appointed inspector general who found it of urgent concern and then took it to the next steps," she said.

Pelosi added that if Trump wanted to present his case, he should come before House lawmakers.

"The president could come right before the committee and talk, speak all the truth that he wants if he wants. He has every opportunity to present his case."

Schiff claims he does not know identity of whistleblowerVideo

Pelosi’s comments also come just days after Trump was accused by critics of intimidating former Ambassador to Ukraine Marie Yovanovitch during her testimony on Friday when he sent out a disparaging tweet.

“Everywhere Marie Yovanovitch went turned bad. She started off in Somalia, how did that go?” Trump tweeted.

Democrats have accused Trump of “witness intimidation” with his tweet, and House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff read the tweet to Yovanovitch during her testimony and asked her to respond.

CLICK HERE TO GET THE FOX NEWS APP

“The president in real-time is attacking you," Schiff said. "What effect do you think that has on other witnesses' willingness to come forward and expose wrongdoing?”

“It’s very intimidating,” Yovanovitch answered.

Video

Asked by a reporter if Trump thought his tweets could be intimidating, he answered, “I don’t think so at all.”

"I have the right to speak. I have freedom of speech just like other people do," he said.

Fox News’ Brie Stimson contributed to this report.

Original Article

ICIG complaint alleges Trump-Ukraine whistleblower may be soliciting illicit donations

closeDemocratic staffer emailed Ukraine ambassador to discuss 'delicate' issue following whistleblower complaintVideo

Democratic staffer emailed Ukraine ambassador to discuss 'delicate' issue following whistleblower complaint

Staffer emailed about 'time-sensitive' issue days after the complaint was filed.

EXCLUSIVE: A newly filed complaint to the Intelligence Community Inspector General (ICIG) alleges that the whistleblower whose allegations touched off House Democrats' impeachment inquiry may have violated federal law by indirectly soliciting more than a quarter-million dollars from mostly anonymous sources via a GoFundMe page.

The complaint, which was filed last week and obtained by Fox News, alleged the donations from roughly 6,000 individuals "clearly constitute" gifts to a current intelligence official that may be restricted because of the employee's official position pursuant to 5 CFR 2635.203 and other statutes. To date, the GoFundMe has raised over $227,000.

READ THE COMPLAINT

The complaint also raised the possibility that some of the donations may have come from prohibited sources, and asked the ICIG to look into whether any "foreign citizen or agent of a foreign government" contributed.

Tully Rinckey PLLC, the law firm representing the individual reporting the allegations, is closely guarding the identity of their client, though Fox News is told the individual is the holder of a top-secret SCI security clearance and has served in government.

"I have not seen anything on this scale," Anthony Gallo, the managing partner of Tully Rinckey PLLC, told Fox News, referring to the fundraising. "It's not about politics for my client — it's whistleblower-on-whistleblower, and [my client's] only interest is to see the government ethics rules are being complied with government-wide."

'COUP HAS STARTED,' WHISTLEBLOWER ATTORNEY ANNOUNCED IN 2017

Fox News reported in September that the nonprofit Whistleblower Aid worked with the whistleblower's attorneys at the Compass Rose Legal Group to start the GoFundMe.

The whistleblower's attorneys have called the GoFundMe a way to "help support the Intelligence Community Whistleblower [to] raise funds," and the GoFundMe page itself states that "A U.S. intelligence officer… needs your help" in the form of a "crowdfunding effort to support the whistleblower’s lawyers."

The fundraising page claims that "donations will only be accepted from U.S. citizens." But, the majority of the GoFundMe donors to the whistleblower's campaign were not named, and legal experts have told Fox News that the ICIG likely would need to subpoena the website to obtain more information on their origins.

'It's whistleblower-on-whistleblower.'

— Tully Rinckey PLLC managing partner Anthony Gallo

Fox News has reached out for comment to whistleblower attorney Mark Zaid, who is reviewing the complaint. The ICIG's office declined to comment when reached by Fox News.

The Office of Government Ethics (OGE) warned federal government employees earlier this year that they "may not accept any gift given because of the employee's official position," meaning that the gift would "not have been given had the employee not held the status, authority, or duties associated with the employee's federal position."

The OGE also cautioned that gifts may not be accepted from "prohibited sources," including anyone who "conducts activities regulated by the employee’s agency" or who "has interests that can be affected by the performance or non-performance of the employee’s official duties."

Lt. Col. Vindman tells lawmakers that he is not the whistleblowerVideo

The new ICIG complaint alleged that the donations through the GoFundMe page indeed constitute a "gift" for a federal employee, and that they were made due to the whistleblower's official "status, authority or duties." It further alleged that the whistleblower and his legal team appeared to be exploiting their access to classified information.

"[M]y client believes … that the federal employee you are protecting and their attorneys apparently have strategically weaponized their alleged whistleblowing activities into a very lucrative money-making enterprise using a charity incorporated under a different name than the trade name it is using for fund-raising purposes, which would appear to my client to be a clear abuse of the federal employee's authority and access to classified information," Gallo wrote in the letter to ICIG Michael Atkinson, the same government watchdog who originally received the Ukraine complaint from the whistleblower.

KEY DEM WITNESS MAY HAVE LIED UNDER OATH, GOP CONGRESSMAN SAYS, AFTER FOX NEWS OBTAINS EMAILS OF COMMS WITH DEM STAFFER

That paragraph was a reference to Whistleblower Aid, which is also known as Values United, co-founded by Zaid. (Values United tax documents show it paid $258,085 for advertising and consulting services to West End Strategy Team, whose founder Matt Dorf was quoted on the group's website saying he "influences progressive politics, skillfully shifting the conversation to achieve the goals of West End Strategy clients.")

"We are requesting you investigate whether [criminal statutes or regulations have] been violated by the federal employee you are protecting when they reportedly requested an investigation into a matter that they had no direct personal knowledge of, and on account of which they were able to obtain sizeable gifts from unknown persons because of their official duty," Gallo concluded.

Mark Zaid is one of the whistleblower's attorneys.

Mark Zaid is one of the whistleblower's attorneys.

The Ukraine whistleblower's complaint — about President Trump's effort to pressure Ukraine to announce politically advantageous investigations — triggered an impeachment inquiry that will shift into a public phase this week with the launch of House hearings. Trump's GOP allies have sought to learn more about the whistleblower motivations, however, and Trump himself has criticized Zaid — after Fox News reported last week that the attorney had tweeted about the beginning of a "coup" against the president in 2017.

Zaid later defended the tweets as reflecting "the sentiments of millions of people" at the time. The law firm has also demanded the White House stop attacking the whistleblower, reportedly warning that Trump’s rhetoric and activity are putting the individual in danger.

The latest ICIG complaint, meanwhile, noted that the Internal Revenue Service's criminal investigations division has been notified.

GoFundMe campaigns have seen a surge in popularity in recent months, as former FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe and former FBI agent Peter Strzok have each established campaigns that raised tens of thousands of dollars.

CLICK HERE TO GET THE FOX NEWS APP

But, those campaigns began after McCabe and Strzok left government service, making the whistleblower's GoFundMe a unique fundraising effort. Fox News is told the ICIG typically replies to complaints swiftly.

"I hope that it's acted on expeditiously," Gallo told Fox News. "The time is ripe to address these issues."

Fox News' Ronn Blitzer contributed to this report.

Original Article

Whistleblower attorneys insist they do not want to ‘shut out’ GOP reps

closeFox News Flash top headlines for Nov. 11Video

Fox News Flash top headlines for Nov. 11

Fox News Flash top headlines for Nov. 11 are here. Check out what's clicking on Foxnews.com

Lawyers for the anonymous whistleblower whose complaint sparked the impeachment inquiry of President Trump have reached out to House Intelligence Committee Ranking Member Rep. Devin Nunes, R-Calif., insisting that their client is still ready, willing and able to cooperate with Republicans by providing written answers to questions — after GOP lawmakers scoffed at a prior offer to do so.

In a letter dated Nov. 6 and posted to Twitter late Sunday night, attorneys Andrew Bakaj and Mark Zaid cited an earlier communication from Zaid to Nunes on Nov. 2, which offered sworn statements from the whistleblower.

SEN RON JOHNSON: TRUMP WITHHELD UKRAINE MONEY BECAUSE OF COUNTRY’S MASSIVE CORRUPTION, NOT QUID PRO QUO

“So long as the questions do not seek identifying information, regarding which we will not provide, or are otherwise inappropriate, I will ensure you receive timely answers,” the letter, insisting that this offer “was specifically to ensure the Minority was not in any way shut out of the process.”

The Nov. 2 offer to provide written answers was swiftly rejected. House Oversight Committee Ranking Member Rep. Jim Jordan, R-Ohio, claimed in a statement that “written answers will not provide a sufficient opportunity to probe all the relevant facts and cross examine the so-called whistleblower.”

The whistleblower first alleged that President Trump’s July 25 phone call with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky included pressure from Trump to have Zelensky assist in investigating his political opponents, including Joe Biden and his son Hunter. The complaint was based on secondhand information from officials who the whistleblower said listened to the call. A transcript of the conversation has since shown Trump did seek those investigations, though the president says the call was "perfect" and has rejected allegations that he used military aid as leverage.

TRUMP IMPEACHMENT INQUIRY WITNESS LIST WIDENS PARTISAN RIFT, AS PUBLIC HEARINGS APPROACH

Since the complaint was filed, House Democrats have called several current and former officials before the House Intelligence, Oversight, and Foreign Affairs Committees for closed-door interviews, with public hearings to begin this week.

"You don't get to ignite an impeachment effort and never account for your actions and role in orchestrating it," Jordan said.

The attorneys defended their client, indicating that the complaint was not part of a plan to impeach the president.

“As Mr. Zaid wrote to you, ‘Being a whistleblower is not a partisan job nor is impeachment an objective. That is not our role,’” the letter said.

The letter also defended reminded Nunes that he and Zaid worked on the same side in the past.

CLICK HERE TO GET THE FOX NEWS APP

“You and Mr. Zaid have worked closely together on numerous matters, particularly when he was protecting the Benghazi whistleblowers, especially from perceived attacks from Democrats. You were their strongest and most devoted ally,” the letter said. “Based on both your many professional, as well as personal, interactions, we cannot fathom you agree with the assessment of your colleagues. We write today to assure you that were the Republicans to submit written questions to our client, we would absolutely follow through as promised.”

As the House prepares for public hearings to begin later this week, Republicans submitted a list of witnesses they would like to come forward. The whistleblower was among them, as the GOP's preference remains to have the whistleblower answer questions in person. House Intelligence Committee Chairman Rep. Adam Schiff, D-Calif., who is leading the inquiry, rejected that request.

Fox News' Gregg Re contributed to this report.

Original Article

Sen. Graham: Impeachment ‘dead on arrival’ in Senate if Dems keep whistleblower from testifying

closeSen. Graham: I think we will learn the whistleblower is from the deep stateVideo

Sen. Graham: I think we will learn the whistleblower is from the deep state

South Carolina Republican Sen. Lindsey Graham says we need to know what the background is of the whistleblower.

Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., accused House Intelligence Committee Chairman Rep. Adam Schiff, D-Calif., of not caring about the truth, and said Schiff's impeachment efforts will go nowhere unless he calls the anonymous whistleblower to come forward and testify about their complaint against President Trump.

House Republicans over the weekend submitted a list of witnesses they would like to call for public testimony during the impeachment inquiry, but Schiff — who is running the probe — was swift to reject the request to have the whistleblower come forward.

"I consider any impeachment in the House that doesn’t allow us to know who the whistleblower is to be invalid because without the whistleblower complaint we wouldn’t be talking about any of this," Graham told Fox News' "Sunday Morning Futures," stating that the process would be unfair if the person who brought the complaint in the first place does not have to face questioning.

DEM LEADER TELLS GOP TO 'GET LOST' OVER IMPEACHMENT INQUIRY WITNESS LIST

If the House inquiry results in President Trump being impeached, the matter would then go to a trial before the Senate, which Graham says would be doomed if the whistleblower does not come forward.

“It’s impossible to bring this case forward, in my view, fairly without us knowing who the whistleblower is and having a chance to cross-examine them about any biases they may have," he said. "So if they don’t call the whistleblower in the House, this thing is dead on arrival in the Senate.”

Democrats claim that the whistleblower's testimony is irrelevant at this point because the witnesses who have already testified have provided more information on President Trump's July 25 phone call with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky at the heart of the inquiry than the whistleblower would be able to give.

House Intelligence Committee Chairman Rep. Adam Schiff, D-Calif., who runs the inquiry, said in a recent letter to the committee's ranking Republican Rep. Devin Nunes, R-Calif., that the inquiry already "has gathered an ever-growing body of evidence — from witnesses and documents, including the president's own words in his July 25 call record — that not only confirms but far exceeds the initial information in the whistleblower's complaint."

CLICK HERE FOR THE FOX NEWS APP

Graham, however, is accusing Schiff of being disingenuous in his fact-finding efforts.

"This is not about Schiff finding the truth, this is about Schiff trying to destroy the Trump presidency," Graham said.

Original Article

Schiff denies GOP request to have Ukraine whistleblower testify publicly, warns against ‘sham investigations’

closeGOP releases witness list in impeachment probeVideo

GOP releases witness list in impeachment probe

Florida Republican Rep. Ross Spano says he believes Rep. Adam Schiff will reject the GOP subpoena requests.

House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff, D-Calif., rejected a request by Republicans to have the Ukraine phone call whistleblower testify at next week's public impeachment inquiry hearings, saying that their testimony was "redundant and unnecessary."

The GOP witness list, obtained by Fox News earlier Saturday, included Hunter Biden, the son of former vice president Joe Biden, and the anonymous intelligence community whistleblower whose complaint about a July 25 phone call between Trump and Ukraine president Volodymyr Zelensky triggered the impeachment inquiry.

"The committee also will not facilitate efforts by President Trump and his allies in Congress to threaten, intimidate and retaliate against the whistleblower who courageously raised the initial alarm," Schiff said in a letter to Intelligence Committee Ranking Member Devin Nunes, R-Calif. " … The whistleblower has a right under laws championed by this committee to remain anonymous and to be protected from harm."

REPUBLICANS WANT HUNTER BIDEN, UKRAINE WHISTLEBLOWER AS IMPEACHMENT INQUIRY WITNESSES

Malinowski: Every single witness has told us that the order to freeze the aid came directly from the presidentVideo

"The impeachment inquiry, moreover, has gathered an ever-growing body of evidence — from witnesses and documents, including the president's own words in his July 25 call record — that not only confirms but far exceeds the initial information in the whistleblower's complaint. The whistleblower's testimony is therefore redundant and unnecessary," Schiff concluded his letter "In light of the president's threats, the individual's appearance before us would only place their personal safety at grave risk."

Earlier in his letter, Schiff had warned Nunes that the impeachment inquiry and the House Intelligence Committee "will not serve as vehicles" for what he called "sham investigations into the Bidens or debunked conspiracies about 2016 U.S. election interference that President Trump pressed Ukraine to conduct for his personal political benefit."

The impeachment inquiry began when a whistleblower reported that Trump had pushed Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky to launch an investigation into the Biden family’s dealings in Ukraine—specifically, why former Vice President Joe Biden pressured former Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko to fire a top prosecutor, Viktor Shokin, who was investigating Ukrainian natural gas firm Burisma Holdings, where Hunter held a lucrative role on the board, bringing in a reported $50,000 per month.

Some House GOP members call for Hunter Biden, Ukraine whistleblower to testify in impeachment inquiryVideo

Republicans noted that in testimony from former State Department official George Kent raised concerns about "the appearance of a conflict of interest stemming from Mr. Biden's position on Burisma's board," and added that former U.S. ambassador to Ukraine Marie Yovanovich was prepared by the Obama State Department to address questions about Mr. Biden's position on Burisma during her Senate confirmation process.

Republicans also plan to call the younger Biden's former long-time business partner, Devon Archer, who also sat on the board of Burisma. Republicans claim Archer can help the public to understand "the nature and extent of Ukraine's pervasive corruption information that bears directly on President Trump's longstanding and deeply-held skepticism of the country."

Schiff said in September the whistleblower would appear before Congress “very soon,” but in recent weeks has suggested that testimony is unnecessary.

Rep. Adam Schiff responds to congressional Republicans' witness list requestVideo

In his letter to Schiff requesting the whistleblower testify publicly, Nunes said: "Because President Trump should be afforded an opportunity to confront his accusers, the anonymous whistleblower should testify," Nunes wrote. "Moreover, given the multiple discrepancies between the whistleblower's complaint and the closed-door testimony of the witnesses, it is imperative that the American people hear definitively how the whistleblower developed his or her information, and who else the whistleblower may have fed the information he or she gathered and how that treatment of classified information may have led to the false narrative being perpetrated by the Democrats during this process."

Republicans are also requesting that the "more than half a dozen sources" the whistleblower cited in their complaint to the Intelligence Community Inspector General, whose identities also remain anonymous, attend for a public deposition.

CLICK HERE FOR THE FOX NEWS APP

The list of witnesses also includes Nellie Ohr, a researcher at opposition research firm Fusion GPS, which commissioned the now–infamous anti-Trump dossier; Alexandra Chalupa, a Ukrainian-American consultant for the Democratic National Committee who allegedly met with officials at the Ukrainian Embassy in Washington, D.C. to discuss incriminating information about Trump campaign officials; ex-National Security Council official Tim Morrison, former Ukraine envoy Kurt Volker, and high-ranking State Department official David Hale.

Earlier Saturday, the president again called the impeachment inquiry a “witch hunt” and said House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and former Vice President Joe Biden should be added to the list of witnesses who would be called to testify.

"The witch hunt continues, lot of witch hunt continues,” he told reporters. "The Republicans have never been so united and I think the people of our country have never been so united.”

Fox News' Brooke Singman and Adam Shaw contributed to this report.

Original Article

Republicans want Hunter Biden, Ukraine whistleblower as impeachment inquiry witnesses

closeGOP releases witness list in impeachment probeVideo

GOP releases witness list in impeachment probe

Florida Republican Rep. Ross Spano says he believes Rep. Adam Schiff will reject the GOP subpoena requests.

EXCLUSIVE: House Republicans plan to call Hunter Biden, the Ukraine whistleblower and a range of other witnesses to testify in the upcoming public Trump impeachment hearings, according to a witness list obtained exclusively by Fox News.

It is unclear, at this point, how many of the Republicans’ proposed witnesses will be approved by House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff and the Democrats, because the newly-approved resolution governing the impeachment inquiry give the approval power to the chairman and the members of the majority.

"Americans see through this sham impeachment process, despite the Democrats' efforts to retroactively legitimize it last week," House Intelligence Committee Ranking Member Devin Nunes wrote in a letter to Schiff on Saturday, referencing the impeachment rules.

"To provide transparency to your otherwise opaque and unfair process, and after consultation with [House Oversight Committee] Ranking Member Jim Jordan and [House Foreign Affairs Committee] Ranking Member Michael McCaul, the American people deserve to hear from the following witnesses in an open setting," he continued.

At the top of Republicans’ list is former Vice President Joe Biden’s son, Hunter, who has emerged as a central figure in the Ukraine controversy due to his business dealings.<br data-cke-eol="1">

At the top of Republicans’ list is former Vice President Joe Biden’s son, Hunter, who has emerged as a central figure in the Ukraine controversy due to his business dealings.<br data-cke-eol="1"> (Getty)

At the top of Republicans’ list is former Vice President Joe Biden’s son, Hunter, who has emerged as a central figure in the Ukraine controversy due to his business dealings.

The impeachment inquiry began when a whistleblower reported that Trump had pushed Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky to launch an investigation into the Biden family’s dealings in Ukraine—specifically, why former Vice President Joe Biden pressured former Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko to fire a top prosecutor, Viktor Shokin, who was investigating Ukrainian natural gas firm Burisma Holdings, where Hunter held a lucrative role on the board, bringing in a reported $50,000 per month.

Republicans noted that in testimony from former State Department official George Kent raised concerns about "the appearance of a conflict of interest stemming from Mr. Biden's position on Burisma's board," and added that former U.S. ambassador to Ukraine Marie Yovanovich was prepared by the Obama State Department to address questions about Mr. Biden's position on Burisma during her Senate confirmation process.

MULVANEY SEEKS TO JOIN LAWSUIT QUESTIONING HOUSE SUBPOENA POWER, SIDESTEPPING IMPEACHMENT TESTIMONY

At the time, the former vice president was running U.S.-Ukraine policy under former President Barack Obama.

Republicans also plan to call the younger Biden's former long-time business partner, Devon Archer, who also sat on the board of Burisma. Republicans claim Archer can help the public to understand "the nature and extent of Ukraine's pervasive corruption information that bears directly on President Trump's longstanding and deeply-held skepticism of the country."

Fox News has also learned that Republicans plan to call the whistleblower—whose identity remains anonymous—to testify publicly as part of the inquiry. House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff, D-Calif., said in September the whistleblower would appear before Congress “very soon,” but in recent weeks has suggested that testimony is unnecessary.

"Because President Trump should be afforded an opportunity to confront his accusers, the anonymous whistleblower should testify," Nunes wrote. "Moreover, given the multiple discrepancies between the whistleblower's complaint and the closed-door testimony of the witnesses, it is imperative that the American people hear definitively how the whistleblower developed his or her information, and who else the whistleblower may have fed the information he or she gathered and how that treatment of classified information may have led to the false narrative being perpetrated by the Democrats during this process."

Hunter Biden's gas firm reportedly pressed Obama admin to end corruption allegationsVideo

Republicans are also requesting that the "more than half a dozen sources" the whistleblower cited in their complaint to the Intelligence Community Inspector General, whose identities also remain anonymous, attend for a public deposition.

NIKKI HALEY SAYS TRUMP DOES NOT DESERVE 'DEATH PENALTY' IMPEACHMENT PROCEEDINGS

In addition, Republicans also are expected to call Alexandra Chalupa as a witness. Chalupa was a Ukrainian-American consultant for the Democratic National Committee who allegedly had meetings with officials at the Ukrainian Embassy in Washington, D.C. to discuss incriminating information about Trump campaign officials during the 2016 presidential election.

Chalupa was first brought into the conversation in January 2017, after Politico published a report exposing her as a DNC operative, who worked in the Clinton White House and met with officials in the Ukrainian Embassy in an effort to expose ties between former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort and Russia.

"Given President Trump's documented belief that the Ukrainian government meddled in the 2016 election to oppose his candidacy, which forms the basis for a reasonable desire for Ukraine to investigate the circumstances surrounding the election and any potential Ukrainian involvement, Ms. Chalupa is a prime fact witness who can assist Congress and the American public in better understanding the facts and circumstances surrounding Ukrainian involvement in the 2016 election," Nunes wrote.

JIM JORDAN ASSIGNED TO INTEL COMMITTEE AHEAD OF TRUMP IMPEACHMENT HEARINGS

Also included in the list obtained by Fox News is Nellie Ohr—a researcher at opposition research firm Fusion GPS, which commissioned the now–infamous anti-Trump dossier, and was paid for by the Clinton campaign and the Democratic National Committee through law firm Perkins Coie. Ohr and her husband, DOJ official Bruce Ohr, were critical figures in Republicans’ efforts to investigate the origin of the Russia probe. Republicans are calling Nellie Ohr to testify because in October 2018, she told congressional investigators that Fusion GPS was getting information from Ukrainian sources.

"In a 2018 interview with the House Judiciary and Oversight Committees, Ms. Ohr stated that, during her work with Fusion GPS that ultimately assisted in the production of the Steele Dossier—comprising false allegations against then-candidate Trump—Fusion GPS used information from sources in Ukraine, including Serhiy Leshchenko who recently lost his post from the Ukrainian parliament," Nunes wrote, noting that Ohr is a "prime fact witness."

Nunes, in his letter, said that he and Republicans "expect that you will call each of the witnesses listed above to ensure that the Democrats’ “impeachment inquiry” treats the President with fairness, as promised by Speaker Pelosi."

"Because the Democrats’ resolution unfairly restricts Minority rights and because you have provided no information about which witnesses you may invite to testify at future hearings not yet scheduled, we reserve our right to request additional witnesses, if necessary, as you announce additional hearings," he added. "Your failure to fulfill Minority witness requests shall constitute evidence of your denial of fundamental fairness and due process."

Meanwhile, Republicans will also call several officials that Democrats on the impeachment committees have already received testimony from—including ex-National Security Council official Tim Morrison, former Ukraine envoy Kurt Volker, and high-ranking State Department official David Hale.

The House approved formal rules for the impeachment inquiry process last week. While Republicans opposed the resolution and complained the rules were unfair, they still gave minority Republicans the ability to subpoena witnesses, with the concurrence of Democratic committee chairs. If the chair does not consent, the minority can appeal to the full committee.

This process still gives Democrats final say over witnesses.

NUNES DEMANDS SCHIFF TESTIFY IN PRIVATE AS PART OF HOUSE IMPEACHMENT INQUIRY

Schiff, who is leading much of the impeachment inquiry, announced Wednesday that his committee would hold its first open hearings next week, featuring current and former officials with knowledge of the Ukraine controversy.

“Next week, the House Intelligence Committee will hold its first open hearings as part of the impeachment inquiry,” Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff, D-Calif., tweeted Wednesday.

“On Wednesday, November 13, 2019, we will hear from William Taylor and George Kent,” Schiff continued. “On Friday, November 15, 2019, we will hear from Marie Yovanovitch.”

CLICK HERE FOR THE FOX NEWS APP

Meanwhile, House Intelligence Committee Ranking Member Devin Nunes, R-Calif., penned a letter to Schiff late Friday, demanding the chairman appear for a deposition behind closed doors ahead of the public hearings next week to testify on his contacts with the whistleblower.

Original Article

Whistleblower’s lawyer sends cease and desist letter to White House: repott

closePresident Trump attacks whistleblower's attorney over tweetsVideo

President Trump attacks whistleblower's attorney over tweets

Trump points to tweets the whistleblower's attorney Mark Zaid published 10 days after the president took office; chief White House correspondent John Roberts reports.

A lawyer for the anonymous whistleblower who filed a complaint with the Inspector General over President Trump’s July phone call with Ukraine’s president sent a cease and desist lawyer to the White House Thursday, demanding Trump stop attacking his client, according to reports.

The letter, written by attorney Andrew Bakaj, asks White House counsel Pat Cipolloneto to advise Trump of the “legal and ethical peril in which he is placing himself should anyone be physically harmed” because of Trump’s or his surrogate's actions, The Hill reported.

GREGG JARRETT: WHISTLEBLOWER NOT ENTITLED TO ANONYMITY – HE’S AN INFORMANT ACTING AS A DEMOCRATIC OPERATIVE

Bakaj wrote that the president is "engaging in rhetoric and activity that places my client, the Intelligence Community Whistleblower, and their family in physical danger."

"Should anyone be physically harmed, my co-counsel, Mark Zaid, and I will not hesitate to take any and all appropriate action against your client," he added, according to The Hill.

Trump has repeatedly attacked the whistleblower in an effort to discredit him or her and along with some Republicans said he or she should be identified.

CLICK HERE TO GET THE FOX NEWS APP

The whistleblower’s complaint alleging Trump abused his office by asking Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky to investigate former Vice President Joe Biden and his son Hunter led the House of Representatives to launch an impeachment inquiry at the end of September.

Original Article

Whistleblower attorney defends ‘coup’ tweet, as Trump calls for impeachment probe shutdown

closeWhistleblower’s attorney called for impeachment in 2017 on TwitterVideo

Whistleblower’s attorney called for impeachment in 2017 on Twitter

Fox News correspondent Todd Piro on what to expect next week from the public impeachment hearings.

Mark Zaid, the attorney for the Ukraine call whistleblower, on Thursday defended a series of tweets from 2017 in which he predicted a "coup" against President Trump and promised to “get rid of him” — saying in a statement the tweets referred to “a completely lawful process.”

Shortly after the publication of a Fox News article Wednesday highlighting the stream of anti-Trump tweets, Trump himself lambasted Zaid during a rally in Louisiana, calling the attorney “disgraceful.”

'COUP HAS STARTED,' WHISTLEBLOWER'S ATTORNEY SAID IN 2017 POSTS CALLING FOR IMPEACHMENT

After tweeting lightheartedly about the controversy Wednesday night, Zaid sent Fox News a formal statement Thursday in which he said the social media posts were written with the belief that Trump would likely be “stepping over the line” at some point during his presidency.

“Those tweets were reflective and repeated the sentiments of millions of people,” Zaid said. “I was referring to a completely lawful process of what President Trump would likely face as a result of stepping over the line, and that particularly whatever would happen would come about as a result of lawyers. The coup comment referred to those working inside the Administration who were already, just a week into office, standing up to him to enforce recognized rules of law.“

The statement comes as Trump pointed to those 2017 statements in arguing the impeachment inquiry touched off by the whistleblower's complaint should be ended.

“Based on the information released last night about the Fake Whistleblowers attorney, the Impeachment Hoax should be ended IMMEDIATELY!” Trump tweeted. “There is no case, except against the other side!”

The anonymous whistleblower filed the complaint earlier this year about Trump's July 25 phone call with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, in which he asked for Zelensky to assist in the investigations of alleged Democratic activities during the 2016 election, as well as former vice president Joe Biden and his son Hunter, particularly Hunter Biden's business dealings with Ukrainian energy company Burisma Holdings. The related impeachment inquiry has focused on whether Trump tried to pressure Zelensky into taking part in the investigations, and if military aid or a White House visit were used as leverage.

Zaid has been critical of Trump since the start of the administration.

AT LOUISIANA RALLY WEDS NIGHT, TRUMP QUOTES FOX NEWS ARTICLE ON 'SLEAZEBALL' WHISTLEBLOWER ATTY

As Fox News reported Wednesday, Zaid tweeted less than two weeks into Trump’s presidency that a “#coup has started” and that “#impeachment will follow ultimately.”

On Feb. 5, 2017, still less than a month into Trump’s term, Zaid said, “Every day that goes by brings us closer to impeachment.”

The following week, in response to an accusation that Zaid had taken sides against the president, the attorney was completely transparent in his animus.

“100%. I'm not hiding anything,” he tweeted. “Anti-Trump. Worst presidential choice in modern history. Not a repub or dem issue.”

Then, in July 2017, Zaid remarked, "I predict @CNN will play a key role in @realDonaldTrump not finishing out his full term as president." Also that month, Zaid tweeted, "We will get rid of him, and this country is strong enough to survive even him and his supporters."

"I'm not a Trump fan," Zaid said on a podcast last year. "I go out of my way on Twitter to say '#Resistance.' It's not a resistance against the GOP or a Republican — I don't think [Trump] is a Republican, quite frankly." (Zaid also boasted that he has sued "every" president since 1993, and pursues "them all," regardless of party affiliation.)

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Trump first responded to learning about Zaid's tweets at a campaign rally in Louisiana Wednesday night, quoting extensively from the Fox News article from earlier in the day.

"Democrats must be accountable for their hoaxes and their crimes," Trump said, holding a printout of the Fox News piece.

Fox News’ Gregg Re, David Spunt and Cody Derespina contributed to this report.

Original Article

Rand Paul blocks Senate push to protect Trump whistleblower

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Fox News Flash top headlines for Nov. 6

Fox News Flash top headlines for Nov. 6 are here. Check out what's clicking on Foxnews.com

Sen. Rand Paul, R.- Ky., on Wednesday blocked a resolution to reaffirm whistleblower protections, accusing Democrats of “selective outrage.”

Senate Minority Leader Charles Schumer, D.-N.Y., and Sen. Mazie Hirono, D.-Hawaii, made a unanimous consent request, meaning all 100 senators must agree with no objections, to adopt a resolution underscoring the importance of protecting whistleblowers.

"I support whistleblowers, and I do think they have a role to play in keeping government accountable … but what we have seen over the last few years is that we have a system that we should continue to refine,” said Paul, according to The Hill.

Rand Paul (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite, File)

Rand Paul (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite, File)

Paul suggested that Democrats drop their resolution and instead pass whistleblower legislation that he introduced earlier that day. Democrats did not oblige, so he objected to their bill.

Paul said that his legislation would “make clear” that President Trump should be able to face the whistleblower whose allegations about a July 25 phone call with Ukraine's leader provided the underpinning for a House impeachment inquiry.

TRUMP IMPEACHMENT 'EXTRAVAGANT' BUT ALSO WITHIN HOUSE'S RIGHTS, KEN STARR SAYS

“The bill I will introduce today will expand the whistleblower act [and] would be made retroactive so Edward Snowden can come home to live in his own country. All he did was expose that his government was not obeying the Constitution," Paul said.

Hirono said she had just received Paul’s bill and hadn’t gotten a chance to read it. Though she added she was “flabbergasted” by a provision in Paul’s bill that applied the Sixth Amendment right to a speedy and public trial to impeachment proceedings.

DEMOCRATS 'DONT HAVE THE BIG THING YET' IN TRUMP IMPEACHMENT INQUIRY, KENNEDY SAYS

Paul’s Senate maneuvers came after he repeatedly voiced a call for media outlets to reveal the name of the Ukraine-call whistleblower.

"I say to the media: Do your job and print his name," Paul reiterated on “Special Report with Bret Baier.” He tweeted on Oct. 31 calling for the whistleblower to be subpoenaed and asked under oath about Hunter Biden and corruption. (In the July 25 phone call in question, Trump is accused of pressuring Ukraine's leadership to investigate political rival Joe Biden, his son Hunter and their business dealings in that country.

Trump and his allies argue the president should be able to confront his accuser and know his or her political biases.

Asked Tuesday why he hasn’t disclosed who he believes to be the whistleblower, Paul told reporters he “probably will.”

"I'm more than willing to, and I probably will at some point," he said. "There is no law preventing anybody from saying the name."

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On Wednesday, Donald Trump Jr. tweeted a name he believes to be that of the whistleblower, but Fox News has not confirmed the whistleblower’s identity.

Original Article

‘Coup has started,’ whistleblower’s attorney said in 2017 posts calling for impeachment

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Report: Lawyer for whistleblower says client is willing to answer GOP questions in impeachment probe

A lawyer for the whistleblower who raised concerns about President Trump's phone call with the Ukrainian president tells CBS News that his client is willing to answer questions from Republican members of the House Intelligence Community directly; reaction from former Department of Justice counsel Jamil Jaffer.

Mark Zaid, one of the attorneys representing the whistleblower at the center of the Democrats' ongoing impeachment inquiry, tweeted conspicuously in January 2017 that a "coup has started" and that "impeachment will follow ultimately."

Then, in July 2017, Zaid remarked, "I predict @CNN will play a key role in @realDonaldTrump not finishing out his full term as president."

Amid a slew of impeachment-related posts, Zaid also assured his Twitter followers that "as one falls, two more will take their place," referring to outgoing Trump administration employees.

The posts, which came shortly after President Trump fired then-acting Attorney General Sally Yates for failing to defend federal laws in court, are likely to fuel Republican concerns that the whistleblower's complaint is tainted with partisanship.

“The whistleblower’s lawyer gave away the game," the Trump campaign's communications director, Tim Murtaugh. told Fox News. "It was always the Democrats’ plan to stage a coup and impeach President Trump and all they ever needed was the right scheme. They whiffed on Mueller so now they’ve settled on the perfectly fine Ukraine phone call. This proves this was orchestrated from the beginning.”

Trump has repeatedly accused Democrats and partisans in the intelligence community of effectively plotting a coup against him, through selective leaks and lengthy investigations.

"45 years from now we might be recalling stories regarding the impeachment of @realDonaldTrump. I'll be old, but will be worth the wait," Zaid wrote in June 2017.

He emphasized his interest in impeachment in a variety of other posts. "Johnson (1868), Nixon (1973), Clinton (1998) impeachment hearings. Next up @realDonaldTrump (2017)," he said in May.

Fox News has previously reported on social media posts by Zaid that highlighted what appeared to be open animus toward the president.

Although Zaid described Democratic House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff, D-Calif., as a "mature professional," and circulated articles that touted the reliability of the largely discredited Steele dossier used by the FBI to surveil a former member of Trump's campaign, Zaid has repeatedly unloaded on the president in no uncertain terms.

"I'm not a Trump fan," Zaid said on a podcast last year. "I go out of my way on Twitter to say '#Resistance.' It's not a resistance against the GOP or a Republican — I don't think [Trump] is a Republican, quite frankly." (Zaid also boasted that he has sued "every" president since 1993, and pursues "them all," regardless of party affiliation.)

WHISTLEBLOWER CHECKED FORM INDICATING 'FIRSTHAND' KNOWLEDGE — CONTRARY TO CONGRESSIONAL DOCS

Also in the podcast, Zaid acknowledged that he had been fishing for plaintiffs to launch a lawsuit concerning the Trump hotel in Washington, D.C., alleging unfair competition by the president and his associates.

"The unfair competition becomes, when Donald Trump became president, he has exploited his use of the presidency, of the Oval Office. … to send business to the hotel. … We identified this as a cause of action, and we were looking for a plaintiff, and we finally found this one restaurant that was willing," Zaid admitted. A federal judge dismissed the lawsuit last year.

Zaid also had something of an open casting call for whistleblowers on Twitter as Trump took office, writing that CIA employees should "come to" his law firm "to lawfully challenge" the new president.

Zaid publicly requested that celebrities Debra Messing, Nancy Sinatra, Cher and Rob Reiner help promote his whistleblower law firm.

"@cher please check out our new whistleblower page," Zaid wrote in one tweet, which garnered no response from the famed singer.

In February, Zaid escalated his pitch to Reiner, asserting that "we have a chance to depose" Trump in court. At one point last year, Zaid even pitched his services to Michael Avenatti, after the now-embattled attorney mentioned that he was "now representing whistleblowers within ICE."

The posts have surfaced as Republicans demand that the anonymous whistleblower come forward and testify. On Sunday, House Oversight Committee Ranking Member Jim Jordan, R-Ohio, rejected an offer from Zaid for the whistleblower to anonymously provide written answers to GOP questions.

"Written answers will not provide a sufficient opportunity to probe all the relevant facts and cross-examine the so-called whistleblower," Jordan said. "You don't get to ignite an impeachment effort and never account for your actions and role in orchestrating it."

Zaid acknowledged in a statement in October that his client "has come into contact with presidential candidates from both parties" — but insisted that the contact involved the politicians' roles as "elected officials – not as candidates."

His abrupt disclosure came shortly after The Washington Examiner reported that Intelligence Community Inspector General Michael Atkinson told lawmakers the whistleblower worked “or had some type of professional relationship” with one of the Democratic presidential candidates, citing three sources familiar with Atkinson’s interview with lawmakers on Friday.

Zaid and the other whistleblower attorneys did assert that the whistleblower "has never worked for or advised a political candidate, campaign or party" — leaving open the possibility that the whistleblower did advise a current 2020 Democratic presidential candidate prior to his or her run for office.

"The whistleblower is not the story," the attorneys said. "To date, virtually every substantive allegation has been confirmed by other sources. For that reason, the identity of the whistleblower is irrelevant."

But Republicans have challenged that claim, noting that various statements in the whistleblower claim have seemingly proved inaccurate. For example, the whistleblower complaint stated that Trump made a “specific request that the Ukrainian leader locate and turn over servers used by the Democratic National Committee (DNC) and examined by the U.S. cybersecurity firm CrowdStrike" — a request that does not appear in the declassified transcript of the call released by the Trump administration. Trump mentioned CrowdStrike, but did not demand the server.

Original Article

Trump says Ukraine whistleblower ‘must’ testify, blasts offer of written answers

closeWhistleblower offers to answer House GOP questions with written statementsVideo

Whistleblower offers to answer House GOP questions with written statements

Criminal defense attorney David Bruno weighs in.

President Trump joined congressional Republicans in publicly rejecting the Ukraine call whistleblower's offer to respond to written questions from Republican lawmakers, instead insisting that he or she appear in person as part of the impeachment inquiry — a move that would reveal the anonymous official's identity.

The whistleblower's attorney, Mark Zaid, tweeted over the weekend that his client — whose complaint about Trump's July phone call with the president of Ukraine touched off the impeachment probe — would provide sworn, written answers under penalty of perjury. Trump in turn attacked the whistleblower's credibility and demanded in-person testimony.

REP. JIM JORDAN REJECTS WHISTLEBLOWER'S OFFER TO PROVIDE WRITTEN ANSWERS TO GOP QUESTIONS

"The Whistleblower gave false information & dealt with corrupt politician Schiff. He must be brought forward to testify," the president tweeted Monday morning. "Written answers not acceptable! Where is the 2nd Whistleblower? He disappeared after I released the transcript. Does he even exist? Where is the informant? Con!"

Trump was referring to the whistleblower's early interaction with Schiff's staff. The whistleblower's central allegation that Trump in July urged Ukraine to launch politically related investigations, however, has been supported by other witnesses as well as the call transcript released by the White House.

But the president joins House Oversight Committee ranking member Rep. Jim Jordan, R-Ohio, in calling for the whistleblower to come forward and testify in person.

Late Sunday, Jordan seemingly rejected Zaid's offer, saying, "written answers will not provide a sufficient opportunity to probe all the relevant facts and cross examine the so-called whistleblower."

Jordan has claimed the only one in Congress who knows the whistleblower's identity is House Intelligence Committee Chairman Rep. Adam Schiff, D-Calif., who is leading the impeachment inquiry. Zaid insists that Schiff has not personally had any contact with the whistleblower or their legal team.

The Republican allegations about Schiff's ties to the whistleblower stem from the revelation that in the weeks after Trump's July 25 phone call with Ukrainian President Vlolodymyr Zelensky and the filing of the whistleblower's complaint, the whistleblower was in touch with Schiff's staff but failed to disclose this.

Trump has used this as a talking point for casting doubt on the complaint and the ensuing impeachment inquiry that is currently exploring whether the president pressured Ukraine into investigating his political opponents.

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Current and former Trump administration officials have testified regarding the phone call and surrounding events, as Democrat-led House committees attempt to learn more about the context of Trump's request for Zelensky to assist in the investigations of Democratic activities during the 2016 election as well as former vice president Joe Biden and his son Hunter, specifically pertaining to Hunter's business dealings with Ukrainian energy company Burisma Holdings.

Zaid tweeted Sunday that he and his team have "directly engaged GOP as to the irrelevance of the whistleblower's information and identity."

Fox News' Gregg Re, Chad Pergram and The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Original Article