New report reveals a Devin Nunes staffer is plotting to expose the whistleblower's identity

New report reveals a Devin Nunes staffer is plotting to expose the whistleblower's identity
Gage Skidmore

In an effort to expose the still-secret identity of the whistleblower who sparked the Ukraine scandal that has ballooned into a full-fledged impeachment inquiry, a staffer for Rep. Devin Nunes (R-CA) has been plotting within the House Intelligence Committee to guarantee the release of the individual's name, according to a new report in the Daily Beast.

Despite the fact that witness testimony, public evidence, and President Donald Trump's own admissions have all largely confirmed that allegations made by the whistleblower, thus rendering the original complaint irrelevant, conservatives have been obsessed with the person's identity. They've claimed that the whistleblower had an anti-Trump agenda or was working with Democrats to bring the president down. But even if the right-wing claims about the whistleblower had merit, they wouldn't change the truth of what Trump has done that is appropriately leading to his impeachment.

For people like Nunes and his allies, though, it's less important that an offensive strategy in the impeachment make sense than it is for it to create perceived enemies. And they see the whistleblower as a prime target for demonization.

And so, according to the Daily Beast, Derek Harvey — the Nunes staffer — "has provided notes for House Republicans identifying the whistleblower’s name ahead of the high-profile depositions of Trump administration appointees and civil servants in the impeachment inquiry. "

The goal is reportedly "to get the whistleblower’s name into the record of the proceedings, which committee chairman Adam Schiff has pledged to eventually release" and "to out the anonymous official who helped trigger the impeachment inquiry."

Mark Zaid, an attorney for the whistleblower, said:

Exposing the identity of the whistleblower and attacking our client would do nothing to undercut the validity of the complaint’s allegations. What it would do, however, is put that individual and their family at risk of harm. Perhaps more important, it would deter future whistleblowers from coming forward in subsequent administrations, Democratic or Republican.” Zaid has represented The Daily Beast in freedom-of-information lawsuits against the federal government.

The report also said Harvey had another target:

Another is a staffer for the House intelligence committee Democrats whom The Daily Beast has agreed not to name due to concerns about reprisals against the staffer. Harvey, both sources said, has spread a false story alleging that the whistleblower contacted the staffer ahead of raising internal alarm about President Trump’s July 25th phone call attempting to get a “favor” from Ukrainian President Volodomyr Zelensky to damage Trump’s rival Joe Biden.

Again, none of this really makes any sense. All the damning evidence needed to make a case against the president comes from undisputed public records. But precisely because the case against the president is so overwhelming, his allies — and there are few as devoted as Nunes — have tried to distract the public by raising concerns about irrelevant issues. It demonstrates both their craven partisanship and the weakness of their position.

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