Sen. Josh Hawley
(R-Mo.) said on Thursday that he wants to know the identity of the whistleblower if there’s an impeachment trial in the Senate, and that President Trump
‘s team should be able to question them.
“I can’t control what goes on in the House, but if it comes over to the Senate and we have a trial I’m going to want to know who the whistleblower is,” Hawley said during an interview on Missouri radio station KFTK.
“How else are we going to evaluate the content and the truthfulness of these people if we don’t know who they are? And by the way the president’s team has a right to cross-examine these people under oath as part of any kind of trial and frankly I look forward to that,” Hawley continued.
The whistleblower, and whether or not that person should be identified, has emerged as a rolling point of debate among Republicans.
President Trump and some of his closest allies have called for the whistleblower to come forward publicly, arguing that the president should have the ability to confront his accuser. They also believe publicly identifying the individual would help reveal any potential political biases the person might have.
Sen. Rand Paul
(R-Ky.), for example, has urged the media to disclose the name of the whistleblower and told reporters separately
that he “probably will” disclose the name.
Sen. Lindsey Graham
(R-S.C.), a close ally of Trump’s, has argued that the name should be disclosed, telling reporters that he believes the “whistleblower statute is being terribly abused here.”
But calls for the whistleblower to be publicly identified have also drawn fierce pushback from several GOP senators, who note that the whistleblower is protected under federal law.
Senate Intelligence Committee Chairman Richard Burr
(R-N.C.) told reporters
on Thursday that he did not believe the individual’s name should be public.
The whistleblower is at the center of the House impeachment inquiry because of a complaint they filed raising concerns about Trump’s request that the Ukraine government “look into” former Vice President Joe Biden
and his son, Hunter Biden.
The House impeachment inquiry is also investigating if Trump tied aid to Ukraine to the country opening up a probe of the Bidens.