Stories

Chuck Grassley calls for whistleblower's identity to be protected

Sen. Chuck Grassley
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