It doesn’t matter how much leverage GOP lawmakers manage to get in the impeachment process, they will never, ever be happy. The latest effort to appease disgruntled Republicans came this weekend from lawyers of the whistleblower, who offered to have their client answer written questions under oath from House GOP lawmakers exclusively, bypassing House Democrats in the process. The only stipulation was that the questions could not seek to obtain information that would help Republicans learn the identity of the whistleblower.
“We will ensure timely answers,” tweeted whistleblower attorney Mark Zaid. “We stand ready to cooperate and ensure facts – rather than partisanship – dictates any process involving the #whistleblower.”
Donald Trump and his GOP counterparts have been desperately trying to unmask the whistleblower, whom they have maligned as traitorous, ill-informed, and “an arm of the Democratic party.” (Just to be clear, no one knows the party of affiliation of the whistleblower because no one even knows that person’s identity.)
As soon as the offer was revealed on CBS’ Face the Nation, GOP Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy went on the program to say it wasn’t good enough. “I think that the whistleblower should come forward in an open hearing,” McCarthy said. “He needs to answer the questions. We need an openness that people understand this.” McCarthy also attacked the impeachment proceedings’ lack of transparency despite the fact that Democrats took an on-the-record vote Thursday formally detailing the inquiry’s process moving forward.
Later on Sunday, Ohio Rep. Jim Jordan also dismissed the offer as insufficient. “You don’t get to ignite an impeachment effort and never account for your actions and role in orchestrating it,” Jordan said in a statement. The ranking member of the House Intelligence Committee, Rep. Devin Nunes, has failed to formally respond to the offer thus far.
But any effort to accommodate House Republicans is futile.
For weeks, they complained that the inquiry wasn’t open and transparent enough. Then when Democrats formally laid out the terms in writing, provided Republicans with the opportunity to call and subpoena witnesses, and gave Trump’s lawyers a chance to question witnesses at the eventual presentation of evidence, not a single Republican voted for the resolution.
And now that they have the chance to ask questions of the whistleblower without even going through Democratic channels, that’s also insufficient.
House Republicans are never going to stop attacking the process because that is quite simply their only line of defense. The facts aren’t on their side.