House Intelligence Chairman Adam Schiff (D-Calif.) sparked confusion during the open impeachment hearing on Tuesday by blocking a line of questioning pursued by his Republican counterpart, Ranking Member Devin Nunes (R-Calif.)
Schiff, who has said he doesnt know who the person is who filed a complaint against President Donald Trump, interjected when Nunes tried getting information from witness Lt. Col. Alexander Vindman, a National Security Council official.
Vindman said he took concerns about Trumps phone call with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky to two people, naming one as George Kent, a State Department official.
The other, he said, “is an individual from the office of—an individual in the intelligence community,” Vindman told Nunes.
Both were “cleared U.S. government officials with appropriate need to know.”
“As you know, the intelligence community has 17 different agencies. What agency was this individual from?” Nunes asked.
Schiff then interjected, claiming the line of questioning was threatening the person who filed the complaint against the president.
“We dont want to use these proceedings—we need to protect the whistleblower,” Schiff said, prompting an outcry from the GOP. “Please stop,” Schiff continued. “I want to make sure that theres no effort to out the whistleblower through the use of these proceedings. If the witness has a good faith belief that this may reveal the identity of the whistleblower, that is not the purpose that we are here for, and I want to advise the witness accordingly.”
Nunes then noted that Vindman testified to Congress that he doesnt know the whistleblowers identity.