Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call
House Democrats are considering taking unprecedented steps to protect the anonymity of a whistleblower who filed a complaint against President Donald Trump, the Washington Post reported.
The official is preparing to testify before Congress, and the Post reported that Democrats are weighing allowing them to testify at a remote, off-site location away from Capitol Hill.
They're also debating over shielding the person's face and appearance.
Democrats are taking these measures because they're afraid Trump's congressional allies will leak the whistleblower's identity to the public.
At the heart of the whistleblower's complaint is a July 25 phone call Trump had with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, during which he repeatedly pressured Zelensky to investigate former Vice President Joe Biden and his son.
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House Democrats are worried that President Donald Trump's congressional allies will leak the identity of an anonymous whistleblower and are considering taking unprecedented steps to protect that person as they prepare to testify, the Washington Post reported.
In particular, Democrats are weighing letting the whistleblower testify at a remote location away from Capitol Hill. They're also debating over masking the individual's voice and face.
The revelation is indicative of the extraordinary stakes at play as lawmakers prepare to hear from the whistleblower - a CIA officer - who in their complaint accused Trump of violating federal law and using his public office for private gain.
At the heart of the controversy is a July 25 phone call Trump had with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, during which he repeatedly pressured Zelensky to investigate former Vice President Joe Biden and his son for corruption. Biden is a 2020 Democratic frontrunner and one of Trump's chief political rivals.
Trump ordered his administration to withhold a nearly $400 million military-aid package to Ukraine days before the phone call.
While the White House's notes of the call show the US president made no direct mention of offering aid in exchange for Zelensky's assistance in probing Biden, they confirm Trump brought up how the US does "a lot for Ukraine" right before asking Zelensky to do him a "favor, though" by investigating Biden and discrediting the former special counsel Robert Mueller's Russia probe.
In addition to accusing Trump of abusing his power and violating federal law, the complaint says Trump's personal lawyer, Rudy Giuliani, is a "central figure" in Trump's effort and that Attorney General William Barr "appears to be involved as well."
Trump's handpicked spy chief testified to Congress that the complaint is "in alignment" with the memo.
The intelligence community watchdog also deemed the complaint to be "urgent" and "credible." Last week, Trump confirmed the complaint's central allegation - that he wanted a foreign government to investigate a political opponent - when he publicly called for both Ukraine and China to look into the Bidens.
Despite the public evidence supporting the whistleblower's allegations - much of which came from either Trump or the White House - the president and his allies have accused the official of committing espionage. Trump has also suggested the whistleblower and the officials they learned their information from are guilty of treason.
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