State Sen. Joe Pennacchio attacked Rep. Adam Schiff (D-Cali.) over the House Intelligence Committee chairman’s claim that he did not know the identity of the whistleblower whose complaint kicked off the impeachment inquiry into President Donald Trump.
“After hearing testimony based on second and third-party hearsay, it is vital that the Congressional Committee hear directly from the Whistleblower,” Pennacchio, an honorary state chair of Trump’s New Jersey re-election campaign, said. “Complicating his ability to testify is that the Chairman of the that committee, Adam Schiff, claims he has no knowledge of who the Whistleblower is.”
During the first impeachment inquiry hearing, Bill Taylor, the top U.S. diplomat in Ukraine, told lawmakers one of his aides was told by Gordon Sondland, the ambassador to the European Union, that Trump cared more about investigating former Vice President Joe Biden and his son than he cared about Ukraine.
The impeachment inquiry centers around a phone call between Trump and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky during which the president allegedly sought to exchange already-approved military aid for the European nation for investigations into the younger Biden.
In their defenses of Trump, Republicans have sought to cast doubt on the testimonies given by Taylor and George Kent, a senior State Department official who was the second individual to testify before the committee.
Pennacchio’s attack follows an earlier line. The state senator is seeking to impugn the whistleblower’s credibility.
“Schiff feels a need to keep the supposed Whistleblower shielded for protection, yet the same supposed Whistleblower has no problem going public to create a GoFundMe Page with over a quarter of a million dollars in that account,” Pennacchio said. “American’s are paying attention and they don’t like what they see.”
The whistleblower did not start a GoFundMe page.
John Tye, a former State Deparment official who was a whistleblower in 2014, started the page to crowd fund a pro-bono legal defense for the whistleblower at the center of the impeachment inquiry.
Tye, who is the founder and CEO of the non-profit law firm Whistleblower Aid, said his organization was working with the whistleblower, adding that the crowd-funding campaign was in compliance with federal legal and ethical requirements.