Senate Intel Committee Gets Involved

They want to talk to the whistleblower.

Yahoo News reports that the Senate Intel panel seeks interview with Ukraine whistleblower:

Even as the House is ramping up its investigation into the Trump administration’s dealings with Ukraine, the Senate Intelligence Committee is conducting its own inquiry and is seeking an interview with the whistleblower who filed the initial complaint with the intelligence community’s inspector general, according to a letter obtained by Yahoo News.

A letter seeking to question the still-anonymous whistleblower was sent Tuesday to Andrew Bakaj, the lawyer who represents the official. It was signed by committee chair Sen. Richard Burr, R-N.C., and Sen. Mark Warner, D-Va. — signifying that the panel is pursuing the politically explosive issue on a bipartisan basis.

In case anyone needs reminding, the Senate is controlled by the Republicans and the request noted above it bipartisan.

The request is for a closed session this coming Friday.

The letter, available at the link, came out before Speaker Pelosi stated that a formal impeachment inquiry would commence.

FILED UNDER: General
Steven L. Taylor
About Steven L. Taylor
Steven L. Taylor is Professor of Political Science and Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences at Troy University. His main areas of expertise include parties, elections, and the institutional design of democracies. His most recent book is the co-authored A Different Democracy: American Government in a 31-Country Perspective. He earned his Ph.D. from the University of Texas and his BA from the University of California, Irvine. He has been blogging since 2003 (originally at the now defunct Poliblog). Follow Steven on Twitter

Comments

  1. Gustopher says:

    The letter, available at the link, came out before Speaker Pelosi stated that a formal impeachment inquiry would commence.

    The Pelosi announcement was not a surprise — it was leaked that she would be declaring the formal impeachment inquiry would start, and that she would imply that she is supporting impeachment.

    She was mocked on twitter for leaking that she intended to imply something later.,

    Republicans beginning to take this seriously is good, but it’s not really possible to say that this is not triggered by the House Democrats move. (Also, not possible to spray that it is, as this might have been percolating before that… but I suspect staffs talk)

  2. Gustopher says:

    Also, awesome subtitle. (Feel free to delete this when you make it more than “they” — I don’t want to be praising a terrible subtitle)

  3. Erik says:

    Forgive me for being cynical about the Senate, but I have to wonder if the reason republicans are at least going through the motions of helping is so they can legitimately claim to have a countervailing informed narrative to the one that will come out of the house. This will neatly allow the media to go into bothsiderism overdrive

  4. gVOR08 says:

    I have to admit that Republicans behaving reasonably makes me nervous. It’s not a situation we have a lot of experience with. Have to wonder if they’re up to something. After all, the DNI (acting) knows what’s going on here, and through him Trump’s people. Everybody else is speculating.

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  5. Teve says:

    @Erik: @gVOR08:

    I was living in North Carolina when Burr got elected and I knew a guy in Raleigh who worked on Burr’s opponent’s campaign. He said that Burr was one of the better Republicans. Still shitty, cuz Republican, but nowhere near the scum of the earth that some Republican politicians are.

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  6. @Gustopher:

    Republicans beginning to take this seriously is good, but it’s not really possible to say that this is not triggered by the House Democrats move.

    I wasn’t trying to assert that it wasn’t. I was just making a factual statement about timing.

  7. @Gustopher: Thanks for the heads up.

    🙂

  8. @Erik: Senate Intel has been a relatively serious actor during the Trump admin (to be contrasted with House Intel when Nunes was in charge).

  9. Erik says:

    @Steven L. Taylor:
    I agree, and it is nice to get independent confirmation like what @Teve: can provide too. I’m trying not to be too cynical about it, but I must admit that I’m wary

  10. 95 South says:

    Wasn’t I just saying: Nixon. Clinton. Unlike Democrats, Republicans have a history of putting country before party.

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  11. Guarneri says:

    Lots going on today. I found it hard to follow because I just couldn’t get past the incredible coincidence that Barisma and the Chinese both randomly stumbled upon Hunter Biden on ZipRecruiter……..

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  12. @Guarneri: Which has zero to do with Trump’s behavior.

    Your whataboutism is showing again.

    But, at least you have fealty to a president who utterly eschews banking on parental names.

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  13. michael reynolds says:

    @Guarneri:
    Sunk costs, dude, sunk costs. You made a stupid investment and you’re too weak to admit it. That instinct is why it’s so easy for con men to fleece suckers like you.

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  14. michael reynolds says:

    @Guarneri:
    Sunk costs, dude, sunk costs. You made a stupid investment and you’re too weak to admit it. That instinct is why it’s so easy for con men to fleece suckers like you.

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  15. An Interested Party says:

    Unlike Democrats, Republicans have a history of putting country before party.

    No, not really…but we will see how much longer Republicans put Trump before country and party…

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  16. MarkedMan says:

    I would be pleasantly astonished if a few Republicans had found a spine and voted to support the Dems in this. But this was unanimous. Astounding. However, I don’t think it means Republicans are suddenly putting country before their base. After all, why start now? What I think it means is that Mitch McConnell told them they had to do this unanimously or not at all. And why would Mitch tell them that? I can think of a few reasons:

    – They really, really, really don’t want to go through five more years of being Trump’s bitches. The party leadership is seeing the exodus in frickin’ Texas (Texas!) and has decided only the dumbest of the tea partiers will be left standing by the end. Even Mitch dreads the thought of spending all his time with the likes of those clowns. And they have watched Trump become disenchanted with party loyalists and actively campaign against them, and are wondering if they really want to spend the next five years bolting out of the crosshairs, sweating and running for all they are worth with their trousers hitched up.

    – They have access to some inside information on the state of mind of their Trumper followers, and it tells them that they are ready to rally around some other nincompoop and let Trump fall

    – The billionaire hobbyists that are their masters have passed the word down to get rid of Trump

    – They figure this is the absolute minimum they can do and will quickly retreat from it once they get the whipping from the Trumpers

    The first three are not mutually exclusive. Alas, the fourth is.

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  17. MarkedMan says:

    I’m not predicting Trump’s downfall, but FWIW, if it happens, here’s my bet:

    Mitch takes him aside and tells him he can either resign and get a pardon from Pence for him and his family (at least) or he can rest assured that once Trump is out of office Mitch will let the dogs of war run wild on his businesses. Trump will fold (and yes, he has quite a history of folding) and Pence will fall over himself in a rush to pardon Trump and assume his rightful role. In the process he’ll get Trump all over him and come away stinking, and Mitch will make sure that history views Pence as the bad guy.

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  18. mattbernius says:

    Hey all, remember when I kept saying it doesn’t matter what Joe Biden or Hunter did?

    Here’s exactly why:
    @Guarneri:

    I just couldn’t get past the incredible coincidence that Barisma and the Chinese both randomly stumbled upon Hunter Biden on ZipRecruiter……..

    G-Man, you still keep ignoring those rascally Trump kids. Oh, and the Constitution.

    As always looking forward to see how far you’re willing to go to defend Trump…

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  19. Teve says:

    Charlie Kirk
    @charliekirk11
    · 6h
    I’m glad the President is being transparent about his call with Ukraine

    Now I want to see:

    Transcripts of Obama’s calls with Iran right before he delivered them $150 Billion in cash

    Transcripts of Biden’s calls with China before his son secured a multi-billion dollar deal

    Whatabout Hillary selling all our Uranium’s to Benghazi, huh???

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  20. mattbernius says:

    @95 South:

    Unlike Democrats, Republicans have a history of putting country before party.

    So go on the record, do you think Trump, based on the current evidence has done anything wrong?

    Looking forward to your personal portrait of putting country before party.

    Or wait, is was it just the lying media who quoted Trump stating that he discussed Biden with the Ukrainians?

  21. 95 South says:

    @MarkedMan: How about this reason: Republicans ignored the nonsense partisan arguments of the last two years, and now they’re considering an accusation that might be credible. You only have to make two assumptions, both backed up by the impeachment attempts against Nixon and Clinton. Democrats will do anything to hold power or take away an opponent’s power. Republicans will do what is morally right without regard to party. Any other theory ignores history.

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  22. Teve says:

    @mattbernius: Hannity wrapped up 35 mins ago he should have the talking points down by now. Most of Tuesday’s show was Hunter Biden.

  23. mattbernius says:

    @95 South:

    Republicans ignored the nonsense partisan arguments of the last two years

    Can you remind me what the partisan arguements of the last two years were?

    I brought up the Mueller report to you recently and asked what you found incorrect about misleading about that. Strangely you didn’t respond to that one.

    In fact, it really seems like you pick and choose what you respond to. And very rarely tell us what you actually personally believe. I can’t help wondering why that might be the case.

    Democrats will do anything to hold power or take away an opponent’s power.

    You know, you’ve mentioned this a few times. And in the past I’ve brought up issues like the Michigan and North Carolina Republicans moving to strip incoming Democrat Governors of their power. And then you mysteriously seem to disappear from the conversation. Or we can discuss Merrit Garland.

    Either way, your fearless and open discussion of difficult topics and backing up for claims is an inspiring real portrait in courage.

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  24. An Interested Party says:

    Republicans will do what is morally right without regard to party.

    BWHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!!!!!!!!!! That’s some great satire there…

  25. Neil Hudelson says:

    @mattbernius:

    You are on fire today.

  26. wr says:

    @95 South: “Republicans ignored the nonsense partisan arguments of the last two years, and now they’re considering an accusation that might be credible”

    So what you’re saying is that Democrats were lying when they said Trump colluded with a foreign government to help with his election in 2016 but they’re telling the truth when they say Trump colluded with a foreign government to help in his election in 2019?

    What, you’re thinking that Trump decided that since he was going to be accused of an impeachable offense he might as well commit it?

    And of course that it’s all the Democrats’ fault?

  27. KM says:

    @mattbernius:

    As always looking forward to see how far you’re willing to go to defend Trump…

    And that’s why the GOP will burn everything to the ground to protect him – the cult loves *him*, not Pence or Mitch or even MAGA. They will blindly follow along anyone with a R after their name but it’s Trump that’s really reached out and touched their shriveled little hearts. He really is like them: incoherent losers in life, full of directionless and pointless existential rage and bitter that the world’s changed but they’re not getting preferential treatment. They’ve glommed onto him to a frightening degree so now the GOP is stuck defending him hell or high water.

    You think the base is gonna turn out for Pence like this? Rabidly defend him, distort reality and straight up defy the law to cover for him? Hell no! He’s got their support just for being a Republican but other then that, he doesn’t own the libs like Trump. Mitch and Co can’t tell Trump to take a walk anymore then they can make him stop incriminating himself. ANY cooperation is a betrayal of the highest order at this point; anything less then total support is going to end badly with the base for the Repub involved.

    Lay down with dogs, you get fleas. Lay down with an obviously rabid dog and you’ve got nobody to blame for the rabies headed your way…..

  28. mattbernius says:

    @Neil Hudelson:

    You are on fire today.

    It was a combination of seeing Congress reassert some Constitutional Safe Guards, editing a Powerpoint presentation, and an extra glass (or two) of a cheap Pinot Noir.

    You should have seen the stuff I deleted.

  29. Daryl and his brother Darryl says:

    Neglecting the I95 and JKB and Guarneri bullshit…because all you can do is laugh at that nonsense…

    I’m really concerned Dems are going to get played on this whistle-blower complaint.
    Is Baghdad Barr going to give the Senate a report like he did on Mueller, which was diametrically opposed to reality? Is someone from the DOJ going to sit next to the whistle-blower at testimony and tell them what they can say or not say?
    Let’s be crystal clear…the DOJ and the DNI are currently involved in an illegal cover-up. The law specifically states what SHALL happen, and Barr and McGuire are, right now, preventing that from happening. They should be held in contempt, fined, put in jail, whatever.
    Enough of this fuqing obstruction from the Executive Branch. And enough of the feckless Democrats letting it happen.

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  30. Mister Bluster says:

    …Republicans have a history of putting country before party.

    HA! HA! HA! HA! HA! HA!

    Used to see American Flags on Republican flag poles .
    Now many of those Stars and Stripes are gone.
    Replaced by blue rags. “TRUMP 2020”.
    Disgusting.

  31. gVOR08 says:

    @Daryl and his brother Darryl:

    Let’s be crystal clear…the DOJ and the DNI are currently involved in an illegal cover-up. The law specifically states what SHALL happen, and Barr and McGuire are, right now, preventing that from happening. They should be held in contempt, fined, put in jail, whatever.

    And therein lies the problem. The Deep State works for the Czar. Congress would normally refer them for prosecution to a US Attorney’s Office, which works for Bill Barr. They can also file a civil suit, which should be settled in a couple or three years. Or they can act themselves, under “inherent contempt”, declaring a fine or even ordering the Sergeant at Arms of the House to arrest the miscreant. This process hasn’t been used for a long time and will almost certainly lead to a legal swamp. Also, I’d like to see the look on the Sgt at Arms face when they order him to march into the RFK Department of Justice Building and seize the Atty General. I’d like to see the House play hardball, but I don’t quite see how.

    As long as the Atty General sees it as his duty to protect Trump, or more likely to protect his own vision of a strong unitary executive, this is going to be very difficult for the House. That said, the usual analogy is that the House acts like a grand jury, the standard isn’t proof beyond a reasonable doubt but probable cause. The Senate is supposed to call their own witnesses for trial, which is moot as McConnell won’t touch this. They House may be able to concentrate on witnesses outside the administration to build a Bill of Impeachment sufficiently compelling for the electorate.

  32. michael reynolds says:

    Question: Is @95 Pearce or J-nos? It’s hard to tell culties apart.

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  33. michael reynolds says:

    You know, Secretaries of State can be impeached, too. As can Attorneys General and Treasury Secretaries.

  34. JohnMcC says:

    @Daryl and his brother Darryl: I’m seeing quite a bit of comment on the Left comparing the ‘Transcript’ to that famous hurricane tracking map with the sharpie pregnancy.

  35. @michael reynolds: I don’t think so. He does remind of another previous denizen whose names I cannot recall at the moment.

  36. wr says:

    @michael reynolds: “Is @95 Pearce or J-nos? It’s hard to tell culties apart.”

    Man, I was trying to remember Pearce’s name, but couldn’t come up with it to save my life. Amazing how totally forgettable these trolls are once they go away, despite their desperate hope that they’re “living rent-free in our heads.”

    But now that you asked, I’d wager Pearce before J’nos. Haven’t seen any of the J’nos tells yet, and I sincerely doubt he’s smart enough to have changed his style…

  37. wr says:

    @michael reynolds: “You know, Secretaries of State can be impeached, too. As can Attorneys General and Treasury Secretaries.”

    And vice-presidents. Which might come in handy as Pence is in this up to his eyeballs.

  38. gVOR08 says:

    @95 South:

    Wasn’t I just saying: Nixon. Clinton. Unlike Democrats, Republicans have a history of putting country before party.

    I know I’m going to regret engaging, but your repetition of this is becoming irritating. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_federal_political_scandals_in_the_United_States#Legislative_Branch list scandals. During the Trump administration they list 13 scandals in the Legislative Branch, of which 3 involve Ds: Rep Connie Brown and her CoS convicted, Rep John Conyers resigned, Sen Al Franken resigned. During the Obama admin they list 26, 6 involving Ds: Rep Chaka Fattah pled guilty, Rep Anthony Weiner resigned, Rep David Wu resigned, Rep Laura Richardson fined by ethics comm, Rep Jesse Jackson Jr pled guilty, Cos to a Rep Robert DeCheine sentenced. Oops, 25 total and 6 Ds, they listed Mike Crapo (R-ID) twice.
    So where are the Ds protecting their own? WRT to Clinton and Nixon, after you look at the nature and seriousness of the charges, you got nothing. After all was said and done, impeachment of Clinton couldn’t muster a majority, much less 2/3, in a REPUBLICAN Senate.

    Next time you trot out “Unlike Democrats, Republicans have a history of putting country before party.”, have some effing evidence.

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  39. Jen says:

    @wr: Which provides a lead-in to some (admittedly pie-in-the-sky) Constitutional speculation.

    If it turns out that Pence is indeed up to his eyeballs in this mess, is the process then to impeach the president and the VP at the same time, or is it one after the other? I can see the Senate getting tired of Trump (especially if things get considerably worse) and throwing him over in favor of Pence, who is far more malleable.

  40. Neil Hudelson says:

    @Steven L. Taylor: @michael reynolds: I believe Jenos appeared on another thread “Nickel Front.”

    I95 reminds me of “Tsar Nicholas” from years back.

    Thinking of the trolls we used to have, I wonder if Zelsdorf Ragshaft has a full Trump face tattoo by now? And you know who I genuinely miss? G.A. Phillips. He wasn’t bright, but he was forthright.

  41. mattbernius says:

    @Neil Hudelson:

    I believe Jenos appeared on another thread “Nickel Front.”

    That was my suspicion. There were a number of similar tells.

    That said, RWMC folks start to all blend together into a haze of frustrated-I’m-smarter-than-you-incel that makes them hard to tell apart.

  42. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @95 South: Was what you said supposed to make sense?

    @Guarneri: Same question.