The Hill reports:
As the evidence mounts of a quid pro quo in President Trump's dealings with Ukraine, the president's allies in Congress are increasingly hopeful they’ll find exoneration in a singular figure: the government whistleblower they're fighting to expose.
The clash over the whistleblower's identity — and that person’s right to anonymity — has emerged as a frontline battle in the partisan war over the Trump impeachment inquiry.
Republicans on Capitol Hill contend that knowing the whistleblower’s identity is vital to the process, granting Trump the right to face his accuser — and learn of any political biases the figure might have. They are effectively waging a whisper campaign about the identity of the anonymous figure who filed the complaint triggering the inquiry launched just six weeks ago.
Democrats counter that the GOP efforts to out the whistleblower violate federal law and are a dangerous game that could jeopardize the safety of the individual.
Democrats also say, correctly, that the White House's reconstructed transcript of Trump's call with Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelensky backs up the whistleblower's account, as does testimony from witnesses who have openly come forward, including witnesses who listened in on the call. So the case against the president isn't predicated on what the whistleblower said.
Nevertheless, I assure you that on the day impeachment hearings go public, Republicans will immediately pounce on the opportunity to inject the name of the person they believe is the whistleblower into the discussion. They'll probably do so repeatedly.
We already know that they've been doing this in closed-door hearings, as The Washington Post has reported.
GOP members and staffers have repeatedly raised the name of a person suspected of filing the whistleblower complaint that exposed Trump’s effort to pressure Ukraine to conduct investigations into his political adversaries, officials said.
The Republicans have refrained during hearings from explicitly accusing the individual of filing the explosive complaint with the U.S. intelligence community’s inspector general two months ago, officials said.
But the questions have been interpreted as an attempt “to unmask the whistleblower,” whose identity is shielded under federal law, said several officials with direct knowledge of the depositions. Republicans appear to be seeking ways to discredit the whistleblower as well as other witnesses “by trying to dredge up any information they can,” one official said.
As I told you on Thursday, many conservative media outlets have published the right's agreed-upon name -- go to this Memeorandum link for a list of right-wing posts purporting to identify the whistleblower.
Broadcasts of the public hearings should be on a seven-second delay, in order to prevent this attempt to out the whistleblower on national TV. But I'm not sure that's possible. The name is going to come out. Just take that as an inevitability.
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