While the House of Representatives gears up for impeachment inquiries of President Donald Trump, congress’s intelligence committees are also preparing for hearings with the whistleblower who provided the information about the president’s dealings with Ukraine that got those inquiries started.
A big focus Congress will have in the next several weeks is what steps it can take to protect anonymous witnesses who properly report crucial information such as this. The stakes are obviously much higher for this whistleblower even than for whistleblowers reporting fraudulent schemes worth millions of dollars.
The House and Senate Intelligence Committees have not yet said how they will hold the hearings with the whistleblower. House Intelligence Chairman Adam Schiff (D-Calif.) says the whistleblower’s attorneys will need to obtain the proper security clearances.
President Trump has equated the sources who informed the whistleblower to “spies,” and has repeatedly had harsh words for those sources and the whistleblower themselves in public forums. This has led some in Congress to worry not only about protecting the whistleblower’s identity, but also their safety. It is likely that the House Intelligence Committee will use closed hearings with anonymous witnesses. Michael Atkinson, the inspector general for the intelligence community, will meet with the intelligence panels in a closed session after he determined the whistleblower to be credible.
Despite the President’s words, many members of both parties have come forth and said whistleblowers deserve to be protected and should be allowed to maintain their confidentiality, as this is a crucial element of ensuring whistleblowers feel comfortable enough to come forward whenever they have information to disclose.
To learn more about the various federal protections afforded to whistleblowers of all types, contact an experienced attorney at Kardell Law Group.