Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) says the Senate Intelligence Committee will call the whistleblower, who alerted an inspector general about comments made between President Donald Trump and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky on a phone call last July, to appear and testify in front of a Congressional panel.
The Senate Intelligence Committee will reportedly investigate how the whistleblower, reportedly a CIA analyst, came in contact with information about the call, and why the analyst approached the intelligence community’s inspector general. They’ll then move on to how the whistleblower got into contact with Rep. Adam Schiff’s (D-CA) office and whether Schiff or his staff had advance knowledge of the whistleblower’s claims.
Graham made the comments on Fox News Channel’s “Sunday Morning Futures.”
“The Senate Intel Committee under Richard Burr (R-NC) has told us that they will call the whistleblower,” Graham told host Maria Bartiromo. “I want to understand how all this crap started.”
Some Republicans theorize that Schiff’s office had a special line to the whistleblower because at least two of Schiff’s staffers “worked alongside the CIA official some believe to be the whistleblower at the NSC in the Obama and Trump administrations,” according to the Washington Examiner.
Schiff initially claimed that his office had no contact with the whistleblower before the whistleblower filed a complaint with the inspector general alleging that Trump offered to authorize an influx of foreign aid for the Ukraine if Ukrainian officials agreed to investigate whether former Vice President Joe Biden abused his power during the Obama years, waving Ukrainian prosecutors off oil and gas company, Burisma, which employed his son, Hunter.
The House Intelligence Committee chair was later forced to clarify his comments, per CNN, after the New York Times and others reported “that the whistleblower had reached out to a House Intelligence Committee aide before filing the whistleblower complaint. The committee directed the whistleblower to report it to the intelligence community inspector general, which is standard committee protocol when intelligence community officials bring concerns to the committee.” The whistleblower also reportedly failed to tell the inspector general that he met with Schiff’s staff.
Schiff, who had been focusing on Trump’s tax records and his alleged ties to Russian financiers suddenly pivoted to an investigation into whether Trump inked a “quid-pro-quo” agreement with Ukraine without explanation last fall and the timing, Republicans say, is suspect.
Graham also told Bartiromo that he and Burr are interested in whether the whistleblower has ties to the Biden family.
“If the whistleblower is a former employee of — associate of Joe Biden, I think that would be important. If the whistleblower was working with people on Schiff’s staff that wanted to take Trump down a year-and-a-half ago, I think that would be important. If the Schiff staff people helped write the complaint, that would be important. We’re going to get to the bottom of all of this to make sure this never happens again,” he said.
Republicans were reticent to call the whistleblower to testify in front of either the Senate Intelligence or Judiciary Committee during the House impeachment inquiry. With the impeachment trial likely concluding on Wednesday, Graham and Burr now feel free to proceed with investigations — and Graham says there will be investigations.
“Let me tell Republicans out there. You should expect us to do this. If we don’t do it, we’re letting you down. I guarantee you: if [the] shoe were on the other foot, Democrats would be eating us alive if Republicans had done any of these things,” Graham concluded Sunday.