Oct 1, 2019

Chuck Grassley calls for whistleblower's identity to be protected

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

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Intelligence community watchdog refutes Trump's whistleblower claims

President Trump arrives for a press conference in New York, Sept. 25. Photo: Saul Loeb/AFP/Getty Images

The intelligence community inspector general issued a statement Monday refuting false claims by President Trump and his allies about the whistleblower whose complaint on Trump's interactions with Ukraine triggered a formal impeachment inquiry.

Why it matters: It's rare for the Office of the Inspector General of the Intelligence Community to issue such a statement. But it did so after the president and loyalist lawmakers made false claims while attacking the whistleblower's credibility over the complaint concerning Trump urging Ukraine to investigate his political rival Joe Biden and his family.

Go deeperArrowOct 1, 2019

Second Ukraine whistleblower has "firsthand knowledge" of Trump allegations

Photo: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

The attorney representing the whistleblower whose anonymous complaint about President Trump and Ukraine has sparked an impeachment inquiry confirmed to ABC News on Sunday that he is now representing a second whistleblower with "firsthand knowledge" of some of the allegations.

Why it matters: One of the attacks Trump and his allies have used to try to undermine the credibility of the first whistleblower is that he relied on secondhand information from other White House officials. There is no requirement in the whistleblower statute for firsthand information, but an official with direct knowledge of the allegations could provide even more explosive evidence in the impeachment investigation.

Go deeperArrowUpdated Oct 6, 2019

Trump wants to interview whistleblower despite federal protections

President Trump tweeted Tuesday that he wants to interview and "learn everything about" the Ukraine whistleblower, despite protections guaranteed under federal law.

"So if the so-called 'Whistleblower' has all second hand information, and almost everything he has said about my 'perfect' call with the Ukrainian President is wrong (much to the embarrassment of Pelosi & Schiff), why aren’t we entitled to interview & learn everything about the Whistleblower, and also the person who gave all of the false information to him.
Go deeperArrowOct 1, 2019