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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

SEC debunks conspiracy theories about meme stock mania

Photo: Alessia Pierdomenico/Bloomberg via Getty Images

The SEC issued its long-awaited report on the meme stock mania, which downplayed the narrative that a "short squeeze" was the primary driver behind GameStop's historic stock moves — and shot down conspiracy theories about the event.

Why it matters: The postmortem was highly anticipated, largely because of what it could hint about what the regulator thinks should be done in wake of the saga. But the report stopped short of specific policy recommendations.

2 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Breaking Biden's diplomatic logjam

Expand chart
Data: Center for Presidential Transition via Congress.gov; Chart: Will Chase/Axios

The logjam for reviewing and confirming President Biden's ambassadorial picks is finally starting to break.

Why it matters: Biden is far behind his predecessors in the rate at which his ambassadorial picks have been confirmed. The Senate Foreign Relations Committee will hold a series of high-profile hearings and votes this week to finally begin chipping away at the backlog.

2 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Democrats brace for staredown over paid family medical leave

House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Richard Neal. Photo: Win McNamee/Getty Images

Senior House Democrats are braced for battle with the Senate over whether paid family medical leave — a key priority for progressives — will be included in President Biden’s final budget reconciliation bill, lawmakers and aides tell Axios.

Why it matters: Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) has indicated he wants to cut the program to reduce the bill's price tag. “Paid family and medical leave must be in the final package,” Rep. Richard Neal (D-Mass.), chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee, told Axios on Monday.