McCarthy says Schiff should testify about staff contacts with whistleblower

McCarthy: Schiff should testify about staff contacts with whistleblower

Washington — House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy said Congressman Adam Schiff, the Democratic chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, should testify publicly before Congress about communications between his staff and the whistleblower who filed the complaint which sparked the impeachment inquiry into President Trump. 

"The first person we should bring is Adam Schiff and his staff," McCarthy, a Republican from California, said on "Face the Nation" Sunday. 

"He is the only person who knows who this whistleblower is. He refers to himself as a Ken Starr," McCarthy added, referring to the independent counsel who investigated President Bill Clinton. "Ken Starr testified. How many times did he meet with the whistleblower? What did he talk to the whistleblower about?"

Attorneys representing the member of the U.S. intelligence community who filed the whistleblower complaint have said their client met with a member of Schiff's staff to seek guidance about how to report concerns about the president's phone call with the Ukrainian president. A committee spokesman said the staff member directed the individual to hire a lawyer and approach the intelligence community inspector general. 

Schiff told "Face the Nation" in October he "should have been much more clear" when he said in an earlier interview that the committee had not spoken to the whistleblower.

McCarthy on Sunday was asked if he would would take up a recent offer by the whistleblower's attorneys for Republican lawmakers to submit written questions to their client without clearing them through Schiff's Democratic-led committee. He said he was not aware of the offer, which was extended to Congressman Devin Nunes, the Republican ranking member of the intelligence panel, on Saturday night. 

The Republican leader in the House did not say whether he would consent to the offer, focusing instead on his criticism of the Democratic-led impeachment inquiry into the president, which was formalized through a resolution last week. Echoing a call repeatedly made by members of his caucus, McCarthy said the whistleblower, along with officials referenced in the original complaint, should publicly testify. 

"I think that individual should come before the committee. He could come down to the basement," he said. "But he needs to answer the questions."

  • Camilo Montoya-Galvez
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    Camilo Montoya-Galvez is the immigration reporter at CBS News. Based in Washington, he covers immigration policy and politics. Twitter: @camiloreports