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White House senior adviser Stephen Miller claimed on "Fox News Sunday" that the whistleblower who filed a complaint about President Trump's interactions with Ukraine is a "deep state operative" who does not deserve to be honored for forwarding a "partisan hit job."

MILLER: "I think it's unfortunate that the media continues to describe this individual as a whistleblower, an honorific that this individual most certainly does not deserve. A partisan hit job does not make you a whistleblower just because you go through the Whistleblower Protection Act."
CHRIS WALLACE: "On what basis do you say this was a partisan hit job?"
MILLER: "First of all, if you read the 7-page little Nancy Drew novel that the whistleblower put together, it drips with condescension, righteous indignation and contempt for the president. It's also ludicrous on its face."

Reality check: Miller has no evidence of who the whistleblower is. He also cited the intelligence community inspector general's finding that the whistleblower displayed "arguable political bias," but dismissed the IG's assessment that the complaint was "credible" — which has also been backed up by acting Director of National Intelligence Joseph Maguire.

The big picture: Miller's attacks on the whistleblower represent the extreme end of the arguments that Trump's defenders have deployed in the days since the complaint was released.

  • Many of the president's allies have attacked the whistleblower's motives, claimed that Democrats want to overturn the results of the 2016 election via impeachment, and sought to pivot the narrative toward investigating baseless allegations of corruption in Ukraine by Joe Biden.
  • Trump himself suggested at a private event on Thursday that the whistleblower is "almost a spy," adding that we used to handle "spies and treason ... a little differently than we do now."

Go deeper: 4 takeaways from the Trump-Ukraine whistleblower complaint

Go deeper

The Mischief Makers

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

Several Republican and Democratic lawmakers are emerging as troublemakers within their parties and political thorns for their leadership.

Why it matters: We're calling this group "The Mischief Makers" — members who threaten to upend party unity — the theme eclipsing Washington at the moment — and potentially jeopardize the Democrats' or Republicans' position heading into the 2022 midterms.

43 mins ago - Politics & Policy

Obama speechwriter fears Biden unity drive is one-sided

Cody Keenan (right) is shown heading to Marine One in December 2009. Photo: Mandel Ngan/AFP via Getty Images

President Obama's former speechwriter says he's "preemptively frustrated" with President Biden's effort to find unity with Republicans.

What they're saying: Cody Keenan told Axios that Biden's messaging team has "struck all the right chords," but at some point "they're gonna have to answer questions like, 'Why didn't you achieve unity?' when there's an entire political party that's already acting to stop it."

Scoop: Conservative group puts $700k behind Hawley

Sen. Josh Hawley explains his objection to certifying the 2020 election results hours after the U.S. Capitol siege. Photo: Congress.gov via Getty Images

A Republican group is raising and spending huge amounts of money defending Sen. Josh Hawley after he was ostracized for early January’s attack on the U.S. Capitol.

Why it matters: The Senate Conservatives Fund is plugging Hawley's ideological bona fides and backfilling lost corporate cash with needed political and financial support, helping inoculate him as he weighs reelection or a possible presidential campaign in 2024.