TruthDig.com News

U.S. Tells U.N. It Is Pulling Out of Paris Climate Deal

WASHINGTON — The United States has told the United Nations it has begun the process of pulling out of the landmark 2015 Paris climate agreement.

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said Monday that he submitted a formal notice to the United Nations. That starts a withdrawal process that does not become official for a year. His statement touted America’s carbon pollution cuts and called the Paris deal an “unfair economic burden” to the U.S. economy.

Nearly 200 nations signed the climate deal in which each country provides its own goals to curb emissions of heat-trapping gases that lead to climate change.

“In international climate discussions, we will continue to offer a realistic and pragmatic model — backed by a record of real world results — showing innovation and open markets lead to greater prosperity, fewer emissions, and more secure sources of energy,” Pompeo said in a statement.

With a hand-delivered letter, the U.S. is the first nation to pull out of the deal. Agreement rules prevented any country from pulling out in the first three years after the Nov. 4, 2016, ratification.

President Donald Trump has been promising withdrawal for two years, but Monday was the first time he could actually do it.

Trump’s decision was condemned as a reckless failure of leadership by environmental experts, activists and critics such as former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg.

“Donald Trump is the worst president in history for our climate and our clean air and water,” said Michael Brune, the executive director of the Sierra Club. “Long after Trump is out of office, his decision to withdraw the United States from the Paris Agreement will be seen as a historic error.”

The agreement set goals of preventing another 0.9 degrees (0.5 degrees Celsius) to 1.8 degrees (1 degree Celsius) of warming from current levels. Even the pledges made in 2015 weren’t enough to prevent those levels of warming.

The deal calls for nations to come up with more ambitious pollution cuts every five years, starting in November 2020. Because of the expected withdrawal, the U.S. role in 2020 negotiations will be reduced, experts said.

Climate change, largely caused by the burning of coal, oil and gas, has already warmed the world by 1.8 degrees (1 degree Celsius) since the late 1800s, caused massive melting of ice globally, triggered weather extremes and changed ocean chemistry. And scientists say, depending on how much carbon dioxide is emitted, it will only get worse by the end of the century, with temperatures jumping by several degrees and oceans rising by close to 3 feet (1 meter).

Trump has been promising to pull out of the Paris deal since 2017, often mischaracterizing the terms of the agreement, which are voluntary. In October, he called it a massive wealth transfer from America to other nations and said it was one-sided.

That’s not the case, experts said.

For example, the U.S. goal — set under President Barack Obama — had been to reduce carbon dioxide emission in 2025 by 26% to 28% compared with 2005 levels. This translates to about 15% compared with 1990 levels.

The European Union’s goal was to cut carbon pollution in 2030 by 40% compared with 1990 levels, which is greater than America’s pledge, said Rob Jackson, a Stanford University professor and chairman of the Global Carbon Project. The United Kingdom has already exceeded that goal, he said.

“The U.S. agreement is not a tax on the American people. There is no massive wealth transfer,” said Climate Advisers CEO Nigel Purvis, who was a lead State Department climate negotiator in the Clinton and George W. Bush administrations. “In fact, the agreement obligates no country to make any financial payments.”

Pompeo said U.S. net greenhouse gas emissions dropped 13% from 2005 to 2017 “even as our economy grew over 19 percent.”

Then, in 2018, carbon dioxide emissions increased 2.7%, according to the Energy Information Administration, mostly due to extreme weather and the economy. This could lead to more nations turning their back on efforts to slow down an ever warming world, experts said.

“The Trump administration’s abandonment of action on climate change gives other countries an excuse not to act either. They ask — if the richest country, the one that has contributed the most to the load of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere, isn’t willing to act, why should we?” said Michael Gerrard, who heads Columbia Law School’s climate change legal center. “If someone other than Donald Trump is elected, he or she will almost certainly rejoin Paris, and the rest of the world will welcome us back with open arms.”

The post U.S. Tells U.N. It Is Pulling Out of Paris Climate Deal appeared first on Truthdig: Expert Reporting, Current News, Provocative Columnists.

Appeals Court Agrees Trump Tax Returns Can Be Turned Over

NEW YORK — President Donald Trump’s tax returns can be turned over to New York prosecutors by his personal accountant, a federal appeals court ruled Monday, leaving the last word to the Supreme Court

The decision by the 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Manhattan upholds a lower court decision in the ongoing fight over Trump’s financial records. Trump has refused to release his tax returns since he was a presidential candidate, and is the only modern president who hasn’t made that financial information public.

In a written decision, three appeals judges said they only decided whether a state prosecutor can demand Trump’s personal financial records from a third party while the president is in office.

The appeals court said it did not consider whether the president is immune from indictment and prosecution while in office or whether the president himself may be ordered to produce documents in a state criminal proceeding.

“We hold that any presidential immunity from state criminal process does not bar the enforcement of such a subpoena,” 2nd Circuit Chief Judge Robert A. Katzmann wrote.

According to the decision, a subpoena seeking Trump’s private tax returns and financial information relating to businesses he owns as a private citizen “do not implicate, in any way, the performance of his official duties.”

“We are not faced, in this case, with the President’s arrest or imprisonment, or with an order compelling him to attend court at a particular time or place, or, indeed, with an order that compels the President himself to do anything,” the 2nd Circuit said. “The subpoena at issue is directed not to the President, but to his accountants; compliance does not require the President to do anything at all.”

Several weeks ago, U.S. District Judge Victor Marrero in Manhattan tossed out Trump’s lawsuit seeking to block his accountant from letting a grand jury see his tax records from 2011.

Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus R. Vance Jr. sought the records in a broader probe that includes payments made to buy the silence of two women, porn star Stormy Daniels and model Karen McDougal, who claim they had affairs with the president before the 2016 presidential election. Trump has denied them.

Danny Frost, a spokesman for Vance, declined to comment.

The lawyer who argued the case on Trump’s behalf before the appeals court did not immediately respond to a message seeking comment.

During oral arguments, Trump’s lawyer told the 2nd Circuit that Trump is immune from state criminal law even if he shoots someone because he’s president.

Vance’s attorneys have argued that Trump is not above the law while the president’s lawyers have said the Constitution prohibits states from subjecting the U.S. president to criminal process while he is in office.

In the subpoena to Trump’s longtime accountant, Vance’s lawyers call for financial and tax records of entities and individuals, including Trump, who engaged in business transactions in Manhattan.

The 2nd Circuit noted that Trump has not been charged with a crime, but his lawyers have acknowledged that he could be criminally prosecuted after he leaves office.

“Even assuming, without deciding, that a formal criminal charge against the President carries a stigma too great for the Constitution to tolerate, we cannot conclude that mere investigation is so debilitating,” the appeals court said. “There is no obvious reason why a state could not begin to investigate a President during his term and, with the information secured during that search, ultimately determine to prosecute him after he leaves office.”

Trump’s lawyers have said the probe by Vance, a Democrat, is politically motivated.

U.S. Justice Department lawyers in Washington also urged the 2nd Circuit to reverse the findings of the lower court, saying Vance must prove “particularized need” for the records before they are released to a grand jury.

Vance’s investigation comes as the president faces impeachment hearings initiated by House Democrats after the president tried to get Ukraine’s leader to investigate his political rival Joe Biden.

The post Appeals Court Agrees Trump Tax Returns Can Be Turned Over appeared first on Truthdig: Expert Reporting, Current News, Provocative Columnists.

Hundreds of Millions of Us Now Live in Danger of Flooding

Researchers have taken a closer look at estimates of coastal land height – and found that the numbers of people already at risk from sea level rise driven by global heating have multiplied threefold.

More than 100 million people already live below the high tide line, and 250 million live on plains that are lower than the current annual flood heights. Previous estimates have put these numbers at 28 million, and 65 million.

And even if the world takes immediate drastic action and reduces greenhouse gas emissions by the end of the century, at least 190 million people will find themselves below sea level.

If the world’s nations continue on the notorious business-as-usual track and go on burning ever greater volumes of fossil fuels, then around 630 million will, by the year 2100, find themselves on land that will be below the expected annual flood levels.

Protection in question

“These assessments show the potential of climate change to reshape cities, economies, coastlines and entire global regions within our lifetime,” said Scott Kulp of Climate Central, who led a study published in the journal Nature Communications.

“As the tideline rises higher than the ground people call home, nations will increasingly confront questions about whether, how much, and how long coastal defences can protect them.”

At the heart of the new research is a revised estimate of what constitutes sea level, and how it should be measured. Individuals and communities find out the hard way how the highest tides can rise to poison their farmlands with salt and wash away the foundations of their homes.

But the big picture – across nations and regions worldwide – is harder to estimate: for decades researchers have relied on satellite readings, confirmed by flights over limited spaces with radar equipment.

“There is still a great need for . . . more accurate elevation data. Lives and livelihoods depend on it”

But space-based readings by Nasa’s radar topography programme tend to be over-estimates, the researchers argue. That is because the technology measures the height of the first reflecting surface the radar signal touches. In open country, this may not matter. But forests and high buildings in densely-peopled cities distort the picture.

In parts of coastal Australia, and using a new approach, the researchers found that satellite readings delivered over-estimates of 2.5 metres. So global averages in the past have over-estimated, by around 2 metres, the elevation of lands that are home to billions.

Research of this kind helps clarify the challenge that faces governments, civic authorities and private citizens: communities grow up along low-lying coasts and estuaries because these provide good land, reliable water supplies and easy transport. But the catch with flood plains is that, sooner or later, they flood.

The repeated evidence of a decade of climate science is that floods will become more devastating, more frequent and more prolonged for a mix of reasons.

Multiple risks

Soils will subside because of the growing demand for groundwater and for clays and stone for bricks and mortar; because global average temperatures will rise and oceans expand as they warm; glaciers will melt and tip more water into the sea to raise ocean levels; and tropical cyclones will become more intense to drive more destructive storm surges.

Researchers have already warned that sea level rise could be accelerating, to bring more flooding to, for instance, the great cities of the US coasts, while some cities can expect ever more battering from Atlantic storms.

Coastal flooding is likely to create millions of climate refugees even within the US, and the worldwide costs of coastal flooding could reach $1 trillion a year by the end of the century.

The latest study confirms that the hazards are real, and may have so far been under-estimated. The researchers calculated that, in parts of China, Bangladesh, India, Vietnam and Thailand, places now home to 237 million people could face coastal flooding every year by 2050 – a figure 183 million higher than previous estimates.

US coasts threatened

The same study highlights faulty estimates of ground elevation even in the richest and most advanced nations. In some parts of the crowded coastal cities of New York, Boston and Miami, for instance, the researchers believe satellite readings have over-estimated ground height by almost five metres. They say their new approach reduces the margin of error to 2.5 cms.

Right now, around a billion people live on lands less than 10 metres above high tide levels. Around 250 million live within one metre above high tide.

“For all of the critical research that’s been done on climate change and sea level projections, it turns out that for most of the global coast we didn’t know the height of the ground beneath our feet,” said Benjamin Strauss, president and chief scientist of Climate Central, and co-author.

“Our data improves the picture, but there is still a great need for governments and insurance companies to produce and release more accurate elevation data. Lives and livelihoods depend on it.”

The post Hundreds of Millions of Us Now Live in Danger of Flooding appeared first on Truthdig: Expert Reporting, Current News, Provocative Columnists.

Why Was a Mother Charged Nearly $1 Million for a Premature Birth?

ProPublica is a nonprofit newsroom that investigates abuses of power. Sign up for ProPublica’s Big Story newsletter to receive stories like this one in your inbox as soon as they are published.

Lauren Bard opened the hospital bill this month and her body went numb. In bold block letters it said, “AMOUNT DUE: $898,984.57.”

Last fall, Bard’s daughter, Sadie, had arrived about three months prematurely; and as a nurse herself, Bard knew the costs for Sadie’s care would be high. But she’d assumed the bulk would be covered by the organization that owned the hospital where she worked: Dignity Health, whose marketing motto is “Hello humankindness.”

She would be wrong.

Bard, 30, had been caught up in an unforgiving trend. As health care costs continue to rise, employers are shifting the expense to their workers — cutting back on what they’ll cover or pumping up premiums and out-of-pocket costs. But a premature baby, delivered with gaspingly high medical claims, creates a sort of benefits bomb, the kind an employer — especially one funding its own benefits — might look for a way to dodge altogether.

Bard, distracted by her daughter’s precarious health and her own hospitalization for serious pregnancy-related conditions, found this out the hard way. Her battle against her own employer is a cautionary tale for every expectant parent.

Bard’s saga began, traumatically, when she gave birth to Sadie at just 26 weeks on Sept. 21, 2018, at the University of California, Irvine Medical Center in Southern California. Weighing less than a pound and a half, tiny enough to fit into Bard’s cupped hands, Sadie was rushed to the neonatal intensive care unit. Three days after her birth, Bard called Anthem Blue Cross, which administers her health plan, to start coverage. Anthem and UC Irvine’s billing department assured her that Sadie was covered, Bard said.

But Dignity’s plan, like many, requires employees to enroll newborns within 31 days through its website, or they won’t be covered — something Bard said she didn’t know at the time.

Meanwhile, believing that everything with her health benefits was on track, Bard spent nine of those first 31 days recovering in her own hospital bed and then had to return to the emergency room because of a subsequent infection. She spent as much time as she could in the neonatal intensive care unit, where Sadie, in an incubator, attached to tubes and wires, battled a host of critical ailments related to extremely premature birth. At times, doctors gave her a 50-50 chance of survival.

“Right from birth she was a fighter,” Bard said.

Then, eight days past the 31-day deadline, UC Irvine’s billing department alerted Bard to a problem with Sadie’s coverage. Anthem was saying it could not process the claims for the baby, who was still in the NICU.

Bard, an emergency room nurse at St. Bernardine Medical Center in San Bernardino, called Dignity’s benefits department and made a sickening discovery. Sadie wasn’t enrolled in its health plan. It was too late, she was told, she could no longer add her baby.

Dignity bills itself as the fifth-largest health system in the country, with services in 21 states. The massive nonprofit self-funds its benefits, meaning it bears the cost of bills like Sadie’s. And it doesn’t appear to be short on cash. In 2018, the organization reported $6.6 billion in net assets and paid its CEO $11.9 million in reportable compensation, according to tax filings. That same year, more than two dozen Dignity executives earned more than $1 million in compensation, records show.

Dignity is also a religious organization that says its mission is to further “the healing ministry of Jesus.” Surely, Bard remembering thinking, they would show her compassion.

With the specter of the bills hanging over her, Bard said she literally begged Dignity to change its mind in multiple phone calls, working her way up to supervisors. She thought she’d enrolled Sadie by calling Anthem she told them. It was an innocent mistake.

The benefits representatives told her information about the 31-day rule was in the documents she received when she was hired. It didn’t matter that it was six years earlier, long before she dreamed of having Sadie, she said. The representative also told her it wasn’t just Dignity’s decision, the Internal Revenue Service wouldn’t allow them to add the baby to the plan.

Under Dignity’s plan, Bard could have two written appeals. She got nowhere with either of them. “IRS regulations and plan provisions preclude us from making an enrollment exception,” Dignity wrote in its Nov. 30, 2018, response to her first appeal.

IRS officials said they can’t talk about specific cases because of privacy issues and could not comment in general in time to meet ProPublica’s deadline.

Dignity rejected Bard’s second written appeal in a July 8 letter, saying the deadline was included in a packet sent nine days before Sadie’s birth. But at that time, Bard had already been admitted to the hospital because of complications. Dignity’s letter said it “cannot make an exception to plan provisions.”

But the federal regulator of Dignity’s plan said such plans can, in fact, make exceptions. An official with the federal Labor Department, which regulates self-funded health benefits, told ProPublica that plans can make concessions as long as they apply them equally to participants. Plus, federal law allows plans to treat people with “adverse health factors” more favorably, the official said.

Bard scrambled, futilely, to see if any publicly funded insurance plan would be able to cover the costs. Meanwhile, the bills began arriving: $206 in November, $1,033 in January, $523 in February and $69,362 in April, with the biggest yet to come. Sadie had spent 105 days in the hospital and had several surgeries — and the bills would be Bard’s alone.

Sadie’s total hospital tab was nearing $1 million and climbing when ProPublica first spoke to Bard. “I’ll either work the rest of my life or file for bankruptcy,” she said.

Bard said she and her fiancé — Sadie’s father, Nathan Benton — considered delaying their wedding so he wouldn’t be legally saddled with the bills as well.

The looming debt, and her employer’s rejection, sent Bard reeling when she was already suffering from postpartum depression. She went back to her job while worrying that she might lose her home in Norco. She wept and beat herself up again and again about missing the deadline: How could she not think of something like that? She should’ve known. She should’ve been on top of it more.

Anthem declined to comment for this story. UC Irvine, where Bard said the care was excellent, said that cases like Bard’s are unusual but may happen in 1% to 2% of births. The hospital tries to work with patients when they get stuck with the bills, a UC Irvine spokesman said.

With the appeals exhausted, the $898,000 bill landed. Bard could see right away that handling it the typical way, with a payment plan, was not going to work. If she chipped away at it at $100 a month, settling the obligation would take more than 748 years. “It would take so long I’d be dead,” Bard said.

Bard could see no way out. On Oct. 7, she posted a photograph of the $898,000 bill on Facebook. “When Dignity Health (the company I work for) screws you out of your daughter’s insurance…” she wrote.

A week later, ProPublica, which had been flagged to Bard’s case while reporting about health insurance excesses, contacted a Dignity media representative.

The next day, Bard got a call from the senior vice president of operations for Dignity Southern California, who apologized and said she’d heard about the situation from the organization’s media team and would help. Two days later, Dignity added Sadie to the plan, retroactive to her birth date. It would cover the bills.

Dignity officials told ProPublica that they’d learned about Bard through her Facebook post. Bard said she doubts Dignity would have reversed course without the questions from ProPublica.

Dignity said in a statement that it would review how it could better educate new parents about the enrollment requirement. But Bard still wants to know why her employer would make her suffer through such an ordeal. In a letter Bard received last week, the Dignity benefits department said it had received additional information that caused it to reverse course, but it appears to be the same information that Bard had been telling it all along.

“We based this new decision on certain extenuating and compelling circumstances, which, in all likelihood prohibited you from enrolling your newborn daughter within the Plan’s required 31-day enrollment period,” the letter said.

Bard recognizes a dark irony in her Christian employer’s behavior, and it’s made her skeptical. She urged the benefits department to change its process so other employees don’t also have their benefits denied. Dignity needs to put its own ideals into practice, she told ProPublica. “You can’t put on this facade,” Bard said. “You have to live it. You have to walk the walk.”

Bard said she and Benton still don’t know the final total for Sadie’s care. But they sometimes call the sassy and dimpled 1-year-old, who is healthy and reaching developmental milestones, their “million-dollar baby.”

Has your employer wrongly denied your health benefits? Please share your story with reporter Marshall Allen at marshall.allen@propublica.org. Have you worked in health insurance or employer-sponsored health benefits? ProPublica is investigating the industry and wants to hear from you. Please complete our brief questionnaire.

The post Why Was a Mother Charged Nearly $1 Million for a Premature Birth? appeared first on Truthdig: Expert Reporting, Current News, Provocative Columnists.

Bernie Sanders Takes Aim at Elizabeth Warren’s Medicare for All Plan

Sen. Bernie Sanders said Sunday that his plan to finance Medicare for All is “much more progressive” than the pay-for released last week by his 2020 Democratic presidential rival Sen. Elizabeth Warren, who called for a head tax on employers and new levies on the wealthy as key parts of her proposal to fund a comprehensive single-payer system.

In an interview with ABC News, Sanders warned Warren’s proposed head tax—which she terms an “employer Medicare contribution”—could harm workers’ wages and suppress job growth.

“I think that that would probably have a very negative impact on creating those jobs, or providing wages, increased wages and benefits for those workers,” Sanders said. “So I think we have a better way, which is a 7.5% payroll tax, which is far more I think progressive, because it’ll not impact employers of low-wage workers but hit significantly employers of upper-income people.”

“The function of healthcare is to provide healthcare to all people, not to make $100 billion in profits for the insurance companies and the drug companies,” said the Vermont senator. “So, Elizabeth Warren and I agree on that. We do disagree on how you fund it. I think the approach that [I] have, in fact, will be much more progressive in terms of protecting the financial well-being of middle income families.”

In a white paper (pdf) released in April after the introduction of the Medicare for All Act of 2019 in the Senate, Sanders proposed a 7.5% payroll tax on employers that would exempt the first $2 million in payroll “to protect small businesses.”

On Friday, Matt Bruenig of the left-wing People’s Policy Project think tank similarly argued that a payroll tax would be significantly more progressive than Warren’s proposed head tax.

“Under the 8 percent employer-side payroll tax, the employer taxes paid for a worker earning $15,000 per year is $1,200, while the employer taxes paid for a worker earning $200,000 per year is $16,000,” Bruenig wrote. “Under the $9,500 employer-side head tax, the employer taxes paid is $9,500 for both workers.”

Sanders’ remarks to ABC were his first public comments on Warren’s 9,000-word proposal. The Vermont senator said he spoke to Warren on the phone after she released her plan last Friday.

Asked about Sanders’ criticism of her plan, Warren said Sunday that “Bernie may have a different vision of how to pay for it, but let’s be really clear: Bernie and I are headed in exactly the same direction.”

“And that is the $11 trillion that families are going to pay over the next 10 years in out-of-pocket medical costs will go away,” said the Massachusetts senator. “Bernie and I, we’re out there for strengthening America’s middle class. I love it.”

The post Bernie Sanders Takes Aim at Elizabeth Warren’s Medicare for All Plan appeared first on Truthdig: Expert Reporting, Current News, Provocative Columnists.

Lawyer: Trump Whistleblower Willing to Take Written GOP Questions

WASHINGTON — A lawyer for the whistleblower who raised alarms about President Donald Trump’s dealings with Ukraine said Sunday his client is willing to answer written questions submitted by House Republicans.

The surprise offer, made to Rep. Devin Nunes, the top Republican on the House Intelligence Committee, would allow Republicans to ask questions of the whistleblower, who spurred the Democratic-led impeachment inquiry, without having to go through the committee’s chairman, Rep. Adam Schiff, D-Calif.

Attorney Mark Zaid tweeted that the whistleblower would answer questions directly from Republican members “in writing, under oath & penalty of perjury,” part of a bid to stem escalating efforts by Trump and his GOP allies to unmask the person’s identity. Only queries seeking the person’s identity won’t be answered, he said.

“Being a whistleblower is not a partisan job nor is impeachment an objective. That is not our role,” Zaid tweeted. “So we have offered to @DevinNunes.”

“We will ensure timely answers,” he said.

Nunes’ office did not have immediate comment.

The offer comes as Trump has repeatedly demanded the release of the whistleblower’s identity, tweeting Sunday that the person “must come forward.” The whistleblower raised concerns about Trump’s July 25 call with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy, in which he pressed Zelenskiy to investigate Trump’s political rivals. That call became the catalyst for the impeachment inquiry.

The whistleblower’s secondhand account of the call has been providing a road map for House Democrats investigating whether the president and others in his orbit pressured Ukraine to probe political opponents, including former Vice President Joe Biden.

“Reveal the Whistleblower and end the Impeachment Hoax!” Trump tweeted.

Trump later Sunday pushed the news media to divulge the whistleblower’s identity, asserting that the person’s accounting of events is incorrect. The whistleblower’s complaint has been corroborated by people with firsthand knowledge of the events who have appeared on Capitol Hill.

“They know who it is. You know who it is. You just don’t want to report it,” Trump told reporters at the White House. “And you know you’d be doing the public a service if you did.”

U.S. whistleblower laws exist to protect the identity and careers of people who bring forward accusations of wrongdoing by government officials. Lawmakers in both parties have historically backed those protections.

The Associated Press typically does not reveal the identity of whistleblowers.

The whistleblower has become a central fixation for Republicans, and in particular the president. Republicans view a political opportunity in unmasking the CIA official, whom the intelligence community’s inspector general said could have “arguable political bias.” The inspector general nevertheless found the whistleblower’s complaint to be “credible.”

The president believes that if he can expose bias in the initial allegations against him, he can paint the entire impeachment inquiry it launched as a partisan, political probe. To this point, Republicans have largely fought the impeachment inquiry on process, not substance, believing it was tainted because interviews were conducted in closed sessions — ignoring that GOP lawmakers were in attendance — and complaining that House Speaker Nancy Pelosi had not called a vote to launch the matter.

But Pelosi called such a vote last week and the inquiry may soon shift into open hearings. Now, Trump is demanding that his allies defend his actions, insisting that he did nothing wrong while arguing that quid pro quos like the one allegedly offered Ukraine are common occurrences while leveraging power in conducting foreign policy.

House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., said Sunday that he had not yet discussed the whistleblower’s offer with Nunes, but stressed that the person should answer questions in a public appearance before the committee.

“When you’re talking about the removal of the president of the United States, undoing democracy, undoing what the American public had voted for, I think that individual should come before the committee,” McCarthy told CBS’ “Face the Nation.”

“We need an openness that people understand this,” he added.

Zaid said his team had addressed the issue of alleged bias with Republican members of the committee and had stressed the need for anonymity to maintain the safety of the whistleblower and that person’s family, “but with little effect in halting the attacks.”

“Let me be absolutely clear: Our willingness to cooperate has not changed,” tweeted Andrew P. Bakaj, another attorney representing the whistleblower. “What we object to and find offensive, however, is the effort to uncover the identity of the whistleblower.”

Bakaj wrote on Saturday that “their fixation on exposing the whistleblower’s identity is simply because they’re at a loss as to how to address the investigations the underlying disclosure prompted.”

___

Associated Press writer Jonathan Lemire in New York contributed to this report.

The post Lawyer: Trump Whistleblower Willing to Take Written GOP Questions appeared first on Truthdig: Expert Reporting, Current News, Provocative Columnists.

Pages