Well, this was entirely predictable. First the impeachment strategy needed the anonymous CIA gossiper to testify. Then it leaked about how HPSCI Chairman Adam Shiff and his Lawfare staff actually created the “gossiper’s” silly third-hand complaint to an inspector general; who then changed ‘gossip’ rules to allow second and third-hand hearsay.
It was all becoming more brutally sketchy, and the impeachment jenga blocks were tenuous at best. As a result, republicans were going to inquire about how the CIA gossiper constructed his complaint; and then the complaint attorney’s started saying the gossiper would not appear in person, but rather write more complaint letters instead of testifying.
The shift from sketchy testimony to “Dear Sir” letters was ridiculous in the extreme. So what happens next? Well, this is predictable…. Chairman Adam Schiff now says there will likely be no gossiper testimony because now he doesn’t need it. [@4:52 video]
[Transcript] REP. SCHIFF: You know and I think initially, before the president started threatening the whistleblower, threatening others calling them traitors and spies and suggesting that you know we used to give the death penalty to traitors and spies and maybe we should think about that again. Yes we were interested in having the whistleblower come forward. Our primary–
MARGARET BRENNAN: Not anymore?
REP. SCHIFF: Well 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. And 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. We do want to make sure that we identify other evidence that is pertinent to the withholding of the military support, the effort to cover this up by hiding this in a classified computer system. We want to make sure that we uncover the full details about the conditionality of either the military aid or that meeting with Ukraine’s president. 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.
MARGARET BRENNAN: You know who was on that July 25th call? You know all the participants?
REP. SCHIFF: I can’t say that I do. But we now know what took place on that call. We are bringing in witnesses this coming week from the National Security Council, other State Department officials, to find out what they can tell us about the conditionality of this vital military assistance to an ally. The conditionality of this vital meeting between the two presidents and the president’s effort to dig up dirt on his opponent.
MARGARET BRENNAN: Quickly, do you regret saying that we, the committee, weren’t in touch with the whistleblower?
REP. SCHIFF: I should have been much more clear and I said so the minute it was brought to my attention that I was referring to the fact that when the whistleblower filed the complaint, we had not heard from the whistleblower. We wanted to bring the whistleblower in at that time. But I should’ve been much more clear about that. (read more)