Whether or not the whistleblower is revealed would serve as precedent for future cases.
Another week has passed in the impeachment process, and events continue to unwind unpredictably. The House announced that on Wednesday, Nov. 13, public hearing will begin with a televised questioning of George Kent, a senior American diplomat, and William Taylor Jr., a top American diplomat in Ukraine, followed by another on Friday of Marie Yovanovich, former ambassador to Ukraine.
All three of the witnesses called to testify publicly have already spoken privately with investigators in closed door depositions. On Wednesday, Nov. 6, the House released the transcript of Taylor’s private testimony in which he stated that “security assistance money would not come until the president committed to pursue the investigation,” as to his understanding.
During his testimony, Taylor also revealed that Rudy Giuliani was the main proprietor in the effort to get the Ukrainian president to publicly announce an investigation, with Yovanovich later backing that statement in her own testimony.
Chairman of the Intelligence Committee Adam Schiff announced that the public hearings will be how the American people “evaluate the witnesses for themselves, to make their own determinations about the credibility of the witnesses, but also to learn first hand about the facts of the president’s misconduct.”
More testimonies are being planned, and it is expected that more transcripts of closed door depositions will be released as the inquiry moves on.
The House continued to question top State Department employees in order to round out the narrative of what transpired. They have called upon John Bolton, former national security advisor, to testify, but he did not appear for the scheduled testimony on Nov. 8. Bolton stated he is willing to talk only if a court rules he should ignore the White House’s objections to the hearings.
Bolton abruptly left his post in September and has since come out stating he was deeply concerned about Trump’s efforts to push the investigation in Ukraine. Bolton’s lawyer has also mentioned that Bolton knows about “many relevant meetings” in regard to the Ukraine but has not explained what those meetings are.
Fourteen Trump officials have refused subpoenas and have failed to show for testimonies. In response, Democrats forced noncompliant witnesses to appear. Democrats pulled a subpoena for Charles Kupperman, who, like Bolton, asked a federal judge if he should appear.
Two photographs circulated by various right wing social media accounts claim to have the identity of the whistleblower. Facebook, YouTube and Twitter have since banned any distribution of this information in order to protect the whistleblower’s identity.
The whistleblower’s lawyer, Andrew Bakaj, issued a cease and desist to the White House, telling Trump to quit attacking his client. Bakaj wrote that President Trump is “engaging in rhetoric and activity that places my client, the Intelligence Community Whistleblower and their family in physical danger.”
Many feel that the identity of the whistleblower should be revealed in case they hold a political bias, but doing so would threaten the whistleblower’s safety and establish a dangerous precedent for possible future cases related to this issue.
Misinformation about the identity of the whistleblower is still circulating around, with some believing it to be David Eldelman, a former advisor for Obama. Eldelman has since come forward, stating in a CNN interview that it would be impossible for it to be him as he left government long before the events took place. He was confronted on Twitter with people telling him to “watch his back” and that he was “as good as done for,” yet he appears unconcerned with those threats.
Ivanka Trump, Donald Trump’s daughter, has come out and stated that the identity of the whistleblower is “not particularly relevant.” This differs from the belief of many Republicans who call the whistleblower a spy. Ivanka believes that the motivation behind the complaint is what is important. She feels the impeachment inquiry is an effort to “overturn the results of the 2016 election” in contrast to the Democrats’ statement that it is about abuse of power.
The public hearings will begin on Nov. 13 at 10 a.m. ET. As more information comes out, it is expected that partisan issues will continue to arise, but it is clear that the House feels they have enough information to move forward.