Updated Sep 30, 2019

Whistleblower's lawyer raises fears for client's safety

President Trump at the White House Thursday. Photo: Jim Watson/AFP/Getty Images

The intelligence whistleblower whose complaint on the Trump administration's dealings with Ukraine triggered an impeachment inquiry into the president fears for their safety, letters released Sunday night show.

Why it matters: One letter from the whistleblower's lawyer first obtained by CBS News' "60 Minutes" outlined concerns that the whistleblower may be identified. The lawyer specifically cites President Trump's demand to know who gave the whistleblower the information and states that a $50,000 bounty has been issued for anyone with information relating to his client's identity.

What's new: "60 Minutes" first reported that the whistleblower was under federal protection because of safety fears. But the whistleblower's lawyer Mark Zaid tweeted that the show "completely misinterpreted" the contents of the letter.

"Nor have we ... reached any agreement with Congress on contact with the whistleblower. Discussions remain ongoing."
— Lawyer Mark Zaid's tweet
  • However, Politico's Natasha Bertrand notes, the letter does state, "[W]e appreciate your office’s support thus far to activate appropriate resources to ensure their safety."

The big picture: Trump and his associates have doubled down in recent days against allegations that he may have pressured Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky to investigate 2020 candidate Joe Biden and his son Hunter Biden, as House Democrats step up their formal impeachment inquiry.

  • The president continued his days-long attacks on the whistleblower and House Democrats Sunday, declaring "I deserve to meet my accuser" and accusing House Intelligence Chairman Adam Schiff of treason.

What they're saying: Schiff said to "60 Minutes" in its special report on House Democrats' impeachment inquiry of Trump's demand to know who reported his call to Zelensky, "It’s hard to describe how dangerous and loathsome that invitation to violence is."

  • House Speaker Nancy Pelosi told CBS journalist Scott Pelley that Trump phoned her early last week to say "there was nothing wrong" his conversation with Zelensky as calls for his impeachment grew among Democrats.
"It is wrong for a president to say that he wants you — another head of state — to create something negative about his possible political opponent to his own advantage, at the expense of our national security, his oath of office to the Constitution and the integrity of our elections."
— House Speaker Nancy Pelosi's comments to "60 Minutes"
  • House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy told "60 Minutes," "The president did nothing in this phone call that's impeachable." 

Read the letters from the whistleblower's lawyer:

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Editor's note: This article has been updated with new details throughout.

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Republicans scold Schiff for not seeking whistleblower's testimony

House Intelligence Committee Chairman Rep. Adam Schiff (D-Calif.) Photo: Alex Wong/Getty Images

Republican leaders on the House committees investigating President Trump and Ukraine condemned House Intelligence Chairman Adam Schiff in a letter on Wednesday for failing to call the whistleblower to testify before them, according to a copy of the letter obtained by Axios.

Why it matters: The letter marks the first time Republicans have formally demanded the statement of a witness involved in Democrats' impeachment inquiry. But "this particular whistleblower could also face a significant physical risk if his or her identity is exposed," Lawfare notes.

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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

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