Sep 29, 2019

Without evidence, Stephen Miller claims whistleblower is a "deep-state operative"

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

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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

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

Trump demands to meet whistleblower and accuses Adam Schiff of "treason"

Photo: Saul Loeb/AFP/Getty Images

President Trump continued his weekend-long tirade against Democrats and the whistleblower whose complaint about his interactions with Ukraine have prompted a formal impeachment inquiry, tweeting:

Like every American, I deserve to meet my accuser, especially when this accuser, the so-called "Whistleblower," represented a perfect conversation with a foreign leader in a totally inaccurate and fraudulent way. Then Schiff made up what I actually said by lying to Congress. His lies were made in perhaps the most blatant and sinister manner ever seen in the great Chamber. He wrote down and read terrible things, then said it was from the mouth of the President of the United States. I want Schiff questioned at the highest level for Fraud & Treason. In addition, I want to meet not only my accuser, who presented SECOND & THIRD HAND INFORMATION, but also the person who illegally gave this information, which was largely incorrect, to the "Whistleblower." Was this person SPYING on the U.S. President? Big Consequences!
Go deeperArrowSep 29, 2019