House Democrats Discussing Ways To Mask Whistleblower’s Identity When He/She Testifies

Altering their voice and obscuring their face are two options on the table.

members of the house judiciary committee listen to testimony
Chip Somodevilla / Getty Images

Altering their voice and obscuring their face are two options on the table.

House Democrats are in the process of figuring out how they’ll get testimony from the whistleblower whose complaint about Donald Trump’s phone call with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky spurred an impeachment probe, ABC News reports. Options on the table include obscuring their face and electronically altering their voice.

As of this writing, two whistleblowers have come forward to complain about the actions Donald Trump took in his phone call with Zelensky, during which he purportedly asked the Ukrainian government to investigate Joe Biden and his son, Hunter Biden, and possibly suggested that withholding hundreds of millions of dollars in military aid was at stake. The House Judiciary Committee, which has taken the lead in the impeachment inquiry spurred by the complaint, wants to hear from, at the very least, the first whistleblower.

However, making that happen is turning out to be easier said than done.

Officially, the whistleblower is protected by law against retaliation. However, House Democrats still want to keep his or her identity secret, and they’re weighing how to do that.

At the very least, the whistleblower will give their testimony not on Capitol Hill, surrounded by all of the members of the House of Representatives as well as the people who work for them and with them, to say nothing of the members of the media who would undoubtedly be present. Rather, the whistleblower’s testimony will likely be given in an undisclosed government building in Washington, possibly one to handle classified briefings.

WASHINGTON, DC - SEPTEMBER 25: Members of the public attend a hearing of U.S. House Judiciary Committee on assault weapons in the Rayburn House Office Building on Capitol Hill September 25, 2019 in Washington, DC. During the hearing titled Protecting America from Assault Weapons, the committee heard testimony from politicians, physicians, lobbyists and others about the type of weapon used in many of the recent mass shootings. Colt announced last week that it is suspending manufacture of its popular AR-15 rifle for consumers, but will still make them for military and law enforcement. (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)
  Chip Somodevilla / Getty Images

The whistleblower’s testimony would also be witnessed only by a handful of Congressional staff members, and those individuals could brief their colleagues after the testimony was concluded.

Additionally, members of the Committee are considering whether or not it will be possible to alter the whistleblower’s voice when he or she testifies, as well as to somehow obscure his or her face.

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Donald Trump, for his part, has demanded to know the whistleblower’s identity.

“Like every American, I deserve to meet my accuser, especially when this accuser, the so-called ‘Whistleblower,’ represented a perfect conversation with a foreign leader in a totally inaccurate and fraudulent way,” Trump tweeted.

According to NPR News, the right to face your accuser is laid out in the Constitution’s Sixth Amendment, which further allows the accused to cross-examine their accuser. However, that protection is extended to criminal defendants; the impeachment probe is not a criminal trial, and Donald Trump has not, as of this writing, been charged with any criminal offenses.