Rep. Adam Schiff said Sunday that the House Intelligence Committee might not need to interview the CIA analyst who filed a whistleblower complaint against President Donald Trump, a reversal for the Democrat, who has come under fire for failing to disclose the whistleblower’s contacts with his office.
Schiff acknowledged he initially supported the whistleblower testifying about the Aug. 12 complaint, which centered on a July 25 phone call Trump had with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky.
“Given that we already have the call record, we don’t need the whistleblower who wasn’t on the call to tell us what took place during the call, we have the best evidence of that,” Schiff said on “Face the Nation.” “It may not be necessary to take steps that might reveal the whistleblower’s identity to do that, and we’re going to make sure we protect that whistleblower.”
The Democrat has slowly pulled back his preference for the whistleblower to testify after it was revealed Oct. 2 that the CIA analyst had contact with a Schiff aide prior to filing the complaint Aug. 12.
In interviews leading up to the release of the whistleblower complaint, Schiff implied he had no insight into who the whistleblower was, or what they were alleging.
Margaret Brennan, the host of “Face the Nation,” did not ask Schiff questions about his office’s interactions with the whistleblower. She asked Schiff in the closing seconds of her show if he regretted saying in an interview Sept. 17 that “we have not spoken directly with the whistleblower.”
“We would love to talk directly with the whistleblower,” Schiff said in that interview.
Schiff said Sunday he should “have been much more clear” about his office’s contacts with the whistleblower.
Schiff acknowledged Sunday that he initially wanted the whistleblower to testify, but that he has changed his mind after Trump “started threatening the whistleblower and threatening others.”
Schiff noted Trump has referred to the unidentified whistleblower as a spy and traitor.
“Our primary interest right now is making sure that that person is protected. Indeed, now there’s more than one whistleblower, that they are protected,” Schiff said.
House Democrats have given indications that they were shifting away from pushing for the whistleblower’s testimony.
House Democrats were considering disguising the whistleblower during any potential interview in order to prevent Republicans from leaking the whistleblower’s identity, The Washington Post reported Tuesday.
A Republican source familiar with the matter stated in response to that report that it appeared Schiff was “laying the groundwork” to announce the whistleblower will not testify, “and to blame that on Republicans.”