Rep. Louie Gohmert, R-Texas, speaking Wednesday at a meeting of the House Judiciary Committee on impeachment, said the name of a person Republicans believe is the whistleblower who sparked the inquiry against President Donald Trump.
Gohmert, a vocal defender of Trump in the impeachment fight, uttered the person's name while rattling off a list of witnesses he said should have been called in the impeachment inquiry.
"Now that we have the articles of impeachment — a vague abuse of power, obstruction of Congress — the very things the majority has done in preventing us from having the witness that could shed light on this, not opinion but fact witnesses, we need to hear from those witnesses,” Gohmert said. He then proceeded to say a list of names of witnesses he wanted to testify, which included the person alleged to be the whistleblower.
House Judiciary Committee set to vote on articles of impeachmentDec. 12, 201901:17
NBC News is not reporting the name.
In his remarks, Gohmert did not specifically identify the person as being the whistleblower. Democrats on the panel did not immediately react to the remark.
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Democrats have repeatedly asked Republicans not to say the name of anyone believed to be the whistleblower, citing legal privacy and safety issues. Gohmert was the first to do so.
"House Republicans just committed an incredible and outrageous breach," Rep. Don Beyer, D-Va., tweeted after Gohmert's statement. "The President threatened the whistleblower with violence, and whether the person just named is the whistleblower or not they were just put in real danger. This is unacceptable and there should be consequences."
Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., who had called for the media to identify the whistleblower last month at a rally for the president, has repeatedly lashed out at the whistleblower and called for his or her identity to be revealed.
"I say tonight to the media, do your job and print his name," Paul said.
The president's oldest son, Donald Trump Jr., has obliged and tweeted out the name last month. He said the tweet was not coordinated with the White House.
The efforts to identify the whistleblower have received some pushback from other Republicans.
"I believe in personal privacy, particularly as it relates to a whistleblower, and think that would be most unfortunate," Sen. Mitt Romney, R-Utah, said then.
Andrew Bakaj, the whistleblower's lead lawyer, has said that disclosure of his client's name would deter future whistleblowers and he has threatened legal action against anyone who reveals the name. In a statement last month, the whistleblower's lawyers said "identifying any suspected name ... will place that individual and their family at risk of serious harm."
The inspector general for the intelligence community, Michael Atkinson, found the whistleblower's complaint about Trump's alleged pressure campaign on Ukraine credible. The description of events in the complaint has largely been confirmed by the transcript of Trump's July phone call with the Ukrainian president and by the publicly available testimony of other witnesses in the impeachment inquiry.