The lawyers representing the “whistleblower” at the center of the impeachment inquiry conceded Wednesday they “had come into contact with presidential candidates from both parties.”
Attorneys Mark Zaid and Andrew Bakaj, however, insisted in a statement that the whistleblower’s relationship with the politicians was limited to their role as “elected officials,” not as candidates.
Citing anonymous sources, the Examiner noted that Michael Atkinson, the intelligence community inspector general (ICIG), made the revelation about the “whistleblower’s” relationship with the candidate in testimony before congressional investigators.
Zaid and Bakaj asserted that the whistleblower “has never worked for or advised a political candidate, campaign, or party.” The lawyers, however, left open the possibility that the leaker did advise a current 2020 Democratic presidential candidate before his or her run for office.
Two “whistleblowers” have accused President Donald Trump of improperly leveraging U.S. aid to Ukraine in return for it investigating Joe Biden and his son, Hunter.
The “whistleblowers” claim Trump made a quid pro quo offer during a July 25 call with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky. Both Trump and Zelensky, however, have denied the “whistleblower” characterization of their conversation.
Zaid and Bakaj wrote in a statement issued Wednesday:
In light of the ongoing efforts to mischaracterize whistleblower # 1’s alleged “bias” in order to detract from the substance of the complaint, we will attempt to clarify some facts. First, our client has never worked for or advised a political candidate, campaign, or party. Second, our client has spent their entire government career in apolitical, civil servant positions in the Executive Branch.
Third, in these positions, our client has come into contact with presidential candidates from both parties in their roles as elected officials – not as candidates. Fourth, the whistleblower voluntarily provided relevant career information to the ICIG in order to facilitate an assessment of the credibility of the complaint.
The lawyers went on to deem the original “whistleblower’s” complaint “urgent and credible.”
News reports have identified the original “whistleblower” as a “registered Democrat.”
“The whistleblower is not the story. To date, virtually every substantive allegation has been confirmed by other sources,” the whistleblower’s lawyers said in the statement. “For that reason the identity of the whistleblower is irrelevant.”
House Democrats are reportedly considering having the original whistleblower testify remotely with the face and voice obscured to keep the identity hidden from Republican lawmakers and staffers.
So far, House Democrats have carried out the impeachment investigation behind closed doors.
The lawyers representing the “whistleblowers” have maintained relationships with Democrats and expressed ardently anti-Trump sentiment.
Their law firm — Compass Rose Legal Group — was so desperate to find Trump administration informants that they previously offered discounted pricing to those who come forward.
Zaid co-founded Whistleblower Aid, a small nonprofit that blasted advertisements around the nation’s capital actively seeking leakers during the Trump administration.
One of the lawyers representing the “whistleblowers” — Charles McCullough — is a former staffer for Democrat Sens. Chuck Schumer and Hillary Clinton.
He also served as the intelligence community IG at the height of the Clinton email scandal. McCullough “reported directly” to James Clapper when the CNN analyst served as the Director of National Intelligence (DNI) under the previous administration, the attorney’s professional biography revealed.