Republicans Name-Drop Whistleblower During Bill Taylor Deposition

Acting U.S. ambassador to Ukraine Bill Taylor arrives to testify at a closed-door deposition as part of the U.S. House of Representatives impeachment inquiry led by the House Intelligence, House Foreign Affairs and House Oversight and Reform Committees
November 6, 2019 Topic: Politics Region: Americas Blog Brand: The Buzz Tags: ImpeachmentCIAWhistleblowerDonald TrumpUkraine

Republicans Name-Drop Whistleblower During Bill Taylor Deposition

'Disclosure of any name undermines the integrity of the whistleblower system and will deter any future whistleblowers,' the lawyers complained.

The lead Republican attorney in the Trump impeachment inquiry inserted the name of the alleged CIA whistleblower during a line of questioning with Bill Taylor, the acting ambassador to Ukraine and a key impeachment witness for Democrats.

According to a transcript of Taylor’s deposition, which House Democrats released Wednesday, Republican counsel Steve Castor asked the diplomat whether he knew the individual who is rumored to be the whistleblower.

Taylor said he did not recognize the name mentioned to him, and does not recall having contact with the person.

The Daily Beast, which first spotted the question to Taylor, previously reported that Republicans had mentioned the name of the rumored whistleblower during depositions with impeachment witnesses.

Internet sleuths have keyed in on one individual as the possible whistleblower, whom The New York Times identified as a CIA analyst. The whistleblower filed a complaint with the Intelligence Community Inspector General on Aug. 12 regarding President Donald Trump’s actions toward Ukraine.

The name of the alleged whistleblower has floated around for weeks on social media, and some news outlets, including Real Clear Investigations, Breitbart and the Washington Examiner, have published a name. The Daily Caller News Foundation has not independently verified the identity of the whistleblower and is not following suit.

Trump has called on media outlets to identify the whistleblower, whom he accused of making false representations about a phone call with Ukraine’s president that is at the center of the complaint. Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul and Donald Trump Jr. have circulated some of those stories on social media, drawing a harsh rebuke from the whistleblower’s lawyers.

“Identifying any suspected name for the whistleblower will place that individual and their family at risk of serious harm,” Andrew Bakaj and Mark Zaid, lawyers for the whistleblower, said in a statement Wednesday. “Disclosure of any name undermines the integrity of the whistleblower system and will deter any future whistleblowers.”

Bakaj, a former CIA officer, said Tuesday that Paul would be “personally responsible” if the whistleblower is harmed.

Let me be absolutely clear: @RandPaul will be personally responsible for anything harmful that happens.

— Andrew P. Bakaj (@AndrewBakaj) November 6, 2019

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Image: Reuters.