House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy explicitly accused House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff of lying about his knowledge of the whistleblower.
The California Republican slammed the Democrats’ point man for the impeachment process for not publicly acknowledging his staff met with the whistleblower during Wednesday’s first public impeachment hearing.
“I don’t think it’s the first time he’s lied either,” Mr. McCarthy told reporters on Thursday, citing Mr. Schiff’s claims around Russian collusion.
The California Democrat repeatedly came under fire from Republicans — particularly the newest GOP member of the intelligence committee Rep. Jim Jordan — for the early interactions his staff had with the whistleblower.
Mr. Schiff rebuked the accusations multiple times throughout the hearing on Wednesday, and said he did not know who the still-unnamed individual’s identity.
He said Republicans were distorting the truth.
“It was false the first time they said it,” Mr. Schiff said. “It was false the second time through the 40th time they said it. It will be false the last time they say it.”
Mr. Schiff had initially denied any interaction, then later admitted that was not true, as he acknowledged staff contact. He said his staff suggested the whistleblower follow protocol and report concerns to the intelligence community’s inspector general, which under normal circumstances could then trigger a notification to Congress.
GOP lawmakers have said that as the person who launched the impeachment probe, the whistleblower should be called to testify in the public hearings that have now begun.
However, Democrats have rejected Republican requests to have the whistleblower testify twice, and repeatedly shut down questions from the minority party they felt got too close to outing the whistleblower.
“We will not permit the outing of the whistleblower, and questions along those lines, counsel will inform their clients not to respond to. If necessary, I will intervene,” Mr. Schiff warned as Republicans repeatedly demanded answers on Wednesday.