Trump's intelligence nominee dodges questions about why he attacked the Ukraine scandal whistleblower
Rep. John Ratcliffe (Photo: Screen capture)

Rep. John Ratcliffe (R-TX) appeared before the Senate Intelligence Committee hearing Tuesday to answer questions before a vote to approve him to be President Donald Trump's director of national intelligence.


Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) brought up previous attacks that Ratcliffe has made against whistleblowers. During the impeachment hearing, Ratcliffe outright called the whistleblower a liar.

“Guess what word is not anywhere in the transcript – ‘demand,’” Ratcliffe said. “Nowhere in that transcript does the President make a demand. You know where the word demand came from? It came from the whistleblower.”

Ratcliffe was also withdrawn from his initial appointment after it was discovered he lied about some pieces of his background. Another point of contention is Ratcliffe's previous role in promoting "a company accused of being instrumental in the reprisal against a whistleblower and their cybersecurity efforts," according to a Daily Beast report.

"The email, originally sent to the Senate Select Intelligence Committee, laid out how Ratcliffe promoted a company accused of being instrumental in the reprisal against a whistleblower and their cybersecurity efforts, according to one of those sources," the report said. "The Government Accountability Project, an organization that protects whistleblowers, is helping represent the unnamed government employee. Details about the case are being closely held in part because of security reasons."

When given an opportunity to question Ratcliffe, Feinstein noted that the committee has a long tradition of protecting whistleblowers.

"It's my understanding that your participation in President Trump's campaign to punish and discredit one intelligence community whistleblower suggests you do not align yourself with his bipartisan approach," she continued. "Let me give you an example. During a December 11 hearing of the House Committee on the Judiciary Committee you claimed without any evidence that the whistleblower got caught making a false statement here on December 12, you tweeted that the whistleblower didn't tell the truth both verbally and in writing. You also attacked staff for providing guidance to potential whistleblowers on how to lawfully make a disclosure. Here's the question: if you are confirmed, do you believe that your past remarks concerning the Ukraine whistleblower will discourage ic whistleblowers from exercising their rights, consistent with the law to make protected disclosures?"

Ratcliffe claimed that he didn't take issue with the whistleblower, his frustration was with the Democratic leadership, which seems to conflict with his statements at the time. He went on to say he would protect whistleblowers, a promise that no White House appointee is held to when they ultimately take their office.

Watch her questions below: