Trump's biggest Senate impeachment trial gambit likely to be shot down: report
According to a report from Bloomberg, Donald Trump's quest to expose the whistleblower -- whose report led to his impeachment -- and put that person under the glare of the TV lights as the Senate conducts their impeachment trial of the president is likely to fail.
While Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) wants a swift trial and acquittal going into an election year, the president wants witnesses to be called and grilled by Senate Republicans and possibly White House officials in the hopes of attacking them in an effort to vindicate himself.
However, Bloomberg reports, forcing the whistleblower to testify faces a multitude of legal challenges.
According to the report, "Federal laws promise anonymity for workers who step forward with alleged wrongdoing. In this case, a government employee -- reportedly a CIA analyst -- challenged the propriety of Trump’s request to Ukraine’s new president to investigate Joe Biden and other Democrats."
"A Senate demand that the whistle-blower testify would probably be challenged in court as a violation of the law’s protections, and as a move that could put the unidentified person at risk while extracting only secondhand evidence of limited value. Lawmakers of both parties may share those concerns," Bloomberg adds.
Trump is already running up against McConnell's desire to rush through the trial and not expose Senate Republicans to weeks of scrutiny as they defend the president -- possibly damaging their own re-election prospects.
“I wouldn’t mind a long process, because I’d like to see the whistle-blower, who’s a fraud.” Trump complained in a six-page letter to Speaker Nancy Pelosi on Tuesday, the day before his impeachment by the House, that his lawyers weren’t allowed to “call and cross-examine witnesses, like the so-called whistleblower who started this entire hoax.”
However the protections from reprisal under the Intelligence Community Whistleblower Protection Act of 1998 may block Trump from getting his wish.
“Everyone knows that the whistle-blower’s career will be devastated” explained Stephen M. Kohn, who has represented whistle-blowers for more than three decades. “There is no doubt that this whistle-blower will be attacked on social media vigorously and for years to come.”
"Kohn noted that confidential informants are rarely called to testify in court over tips that they didn’t have firsthand knowledge about because it would be legally inadmissible hearsay. As Trump and other Republicans have frequently noted, the whistle-blower’s complaint consists entirely of secondhand accounts of White House actions," the Bloomberg report notes.
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