About that witch hunt

About that witch hunt

by digby

Do... do they think a witch hunt is a hunt *by* witches? https://t.co/7c2wXAjGiE
— Spencer Ackerman (@attackerman) October 28, 2019
They are very, very dumb. Sigh.

If anyone wondered if Trump is in charge of his impeachment strategy, all you need to do is read this:
A top aide to Rep. Devin Nunes has been providing conservative politicians and journalists with information—and misinformation—about the anonymous whistleblower who triggered the biggest crisis of Donald Trump’s presidency, two knowledgeable sources tell The Daily Beast.

Derek Harvey, who works for Nunes, the ranking Republican on the House intelligence committee, has provided notes for House Republicans identifying the whistleblower’s name ahead of the high-profile depositions of Trump administration appointees and civil servants in the impeachment inquiry. The purpose of the notes, one source said, is to get the whistleblower’s name into the record of the proceedings, which committee chairman Adam Schiff has pledged to eventually release. In other words: it’s an attempt to out the anonymous official who helped trigger the impeachment inquiry.

On Saturday, The Washington Post reported that GOP lawmakers and staffers have “repeatedly” used a name purporting to be that of the whistleblower during the depositions. The paper named Harvey as driving lines of questioning Democrats saw as attempting to determine the political loyalties of witnesses before the inquiry. A former official told the Post that Harvey “was passing notes [to GOP lawmakers] the entire time” ex-NSC Russia staffer Fiona Hill was testifying.

“Exposing the identity of the whistleblower and attacking our client would do nothing to undercut the validity of the complaint’s allegations,” said Mark Zaid, one of the whistleblower’s attorneys. “What it would do, however, is put that individual and their family at risk of harm. Perhaps more important, it would deter future whistleblowers from coming forward in subsequent administrations, Democratic or Republican.” Zaid has represented The Daily Beast in freedom-of-information lawsuits against the federal government.

The whistleblower is not Harvey’s only target. Another is a staffer for the House intelligence committee Democrats whom The Daily Beast has agreed not to name due to concerns about reprisals against the staffer. Harvey, both sources said, has spread a false story alleging that the whistleblower contacted the staffer ahead of raising internal alarm about President Trump’s July 25 phone call attempting to get a “favor” from Ukrainian President Volodomyr Zelensky to damage Trump’s rival Joe Biden. In right-wing circles, contact with Schiff is meant to discredit the whistleblower as partisan.

The eagerness of Republicans to go after the intelligence committee staffer so alarmed Democrats that they raised the issue with GOP leadership, according to a senior official on the intelligence committee.

“We are aware of these unsupported and false attacks on a respected member of our staff,” the official told The Daily Beast. “It is completely inappropriate, and we have previously urged the Republican leadership to address this situation.”

The leadership can do nothing, even if they want to, which they don't. Trump wants that name. He's obsessed with it, believing as he does that he can discredit the whole process as another "witch hunt."

Republicans like to out CIA agents when it suits them so they're happy to oblige.

Read the whole thing. It's ... something.