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Photo: Anna Moneymaker/Getty Images

Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) released a statement on Tuesday stressing that the Ukraine whistleblower who has set off an impeachment inquiry into President Trump "ought to be heard and protected."

"No one should be making judgements or pronouncements without hearing from the whistleblower first and carefully following up on the facts. Uninformed speculation wielded by politicians or media commentators as a partisan weapon is counterproductive and doesn't serve the country."

Why it matters: Trump continues to allege that the whistleblower mischaracterized his call with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky and demand that their identity be revealed. Grassley, a top Senate Republican, joins the whistleblower's attorneys and other advocates in emphasizing that their identity should remain protected under whistleblower protection laws.

Grassley also addressed the false claim promoted by Trump and others that not having first-hand knowledge of an event disqualifies someone from being a whistleblower.

  • "When it comes to whether someone qualifies as a whistleblower, the distinctions being drawn between first- and second-hand knowledge aren’t legal ones. It’s just not part of whistleblower protection law or any agency policy."
  • "Complaints based on second-hand information should not be rejected out of hand, but they do require additional leg work to get at the facts and evaluate the claim’s credibility."

Intelligence Community Inspector General Michael Atkinson also put out a statement on Monday debunking conspiracy theories that attacked the whistleblower's credibility, including one that claimed the rules for whistleblowers had been recently changed to not require firsthand information.

Go deeper: Trump wants to interview whistleblower despite federal protections

Go deeper

Journalism enters dangerous new era

Illustration: Brendan Lynch/Axios

The Capitol attack on Jan. 6 resulted in at least nine physical assaults against journalists and at least five arrests, per the U.S. Press Freedom Tracker's top editor.

Why it matters: President Trump's harsh rhetoric towards the press has empowered leaders abroad and locally in the U.S. to continue to attack press that they don't like.

Ben Geman, author of Generate
2 hours ago - Politics & Policy

The beginning of the beginning for Biden's climate push

Illustration: Annelise Capossela/Axios

Joe Biden's inauguration and the days right after will bring a rat-tat-tat burst of climate policy moves, but keep this in mind amid the splashy pledges: pushing through most of his agenda will be a long, uncertain slog.

Why it matters: Biden's climate plan is far more expansive than anything contemplated under President Obama. But for all the immediate pledges, it will take years to see how far Biden gets.

Dion Rabouin, author of Markets
3 hours ago - Economy & Business

Biden's inflation danger

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

President-elect Joe Biden's $1.9 trillion stimulus proposal has economists and bullish market analysts revising their U.S. growth expectations higher, predicting a reflation of the economy in 2021 and possibly more booming returns for risk assets.

Yes, but: Others are warning that what's expected to be reflation could actually show up as inflation, a much less welcome phenomenon.