In Tuesday morning's public impeachment hearing, the top Republican on the House Intelligence Committee, Rep. Devin Nunes, spent his questioning time trying to get the witnesses to reveal the identity of the whistleblower who filed a complaint about President Donald Trump.
National Security Council (NSC) official Lt. Col. Alexander Vindman is testifying alongside State Department official Jennifer Williams, who is detailed to Vice President Mike Pence's office.
In early September, an anonymous whistleblower complaint lodged by a member of the intelligence community said that in a series of events culminating in a July 25 call with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, Trump used "the power of his office to solicit interference from a foreign country in the 2020 U.S. election."
The complaint detailed concerns that Trump, days after withholding a nearly $400 million military-aid package, used the call with Zelensky to pressure the Ukrainian government to investigate former Vice President Joe Biden and his son Hunter.
Both Vindman and Williams listened in on the July 25 call, and testified they believed it was highly unusual and improper for the president to ask a foreign leader to investigate a political opponent.
After attacking the media in his opening statement, Nunes repeatedly pressed Vindman and Williams to reveal if they "know any individual who discussed the substance of the July phone call with a member of the press," which both denied. Vindman emphasized that he does not deal with the press at all.
The whistleblower's identity is still unknown, but he has been reported to be a CIA officer previously detailed to the White House who learned of the unusual Trump-Ukraine call through secondhand information.
The whistleblower's complaint has been corroborated by the White House's summary notes of the July 25 call, White House officials themselves, and the sworn testimony of several career diplomatic and national-security officials.
When Nunes further pressed Vindman as to whether he had discussed the contents of the call with any member of the intelligence community, he was immediately shut down by Intelligence Committee chairman Rep. Adam Schiff, who said, "the whistleblower has the right to anonymity and these proceedings will not be used to out the whistleblower."