President Trump again took aim at the “whistleblower” who sparked the impeachment inquiry, demanding he “come forward” and explain his actions.
The president doubled down on previous attacks on the intelligence community official who filed a complaint about his July phone conversation with President Volodymyr Zelensky of Ukraine, and his request to investigate former Vice President Joe Biden’s son, Hunter.
“The Whistleblower must come forward to explain why his account of the phone call with the Ukrainian President was so inaccurate (fraudulent?). Why did the Whistleblower deal with corrupt politician Shifty Adam Schiff and/or his committee?” Trump tweeted Friday evening, ahead of an exuberant rally in Tupelo, Mississippi.
The Whistleblower must come forward to explain why his account of the phone call with the Ukrainian President was so inaccurate (fraudulent?). Why did the Whistleblower deal with corrupt politician Shifty Adam Schiff and/or his committee?
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) November 1, 2019
The president’s tweet came just one day after a divided House vote to formalize procedures for the impeachment inquiry.
Democrats working along with House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff, as well as lawyers for the whistleblower, have been trying to safeguard his identity. Despite rampant speculation, and claims that his name is an open secret in Washington, the identity of the whistleblower is still protected by law.
“Our primary interest right now is making sure that that person is protected,” Schiff told CBS’ “Face the Nation” in October, speaking of the whistleblower who is believed to be a career CIA officer who served on the White House National Security Council in the early months of Trump’s presidency, after being in the position during the Obama administration.
A new report this week indicated that talks between the whistleblower’s legal team and Schiff’s staff had ceased, and a second whistleblower who backed the claims by the first would also not be testifying.
‘Whistleblowers’ not expected to testify as talks between legal team and Schiff staff reportedly cease https://t.co/y2K1JxCCZX
— Conservative News (@BIZPACReview) November 1, 2019
Trump has continued to defend himself against accusations of quid pro quo in his conversation with Zelensky which he said was a “good call,” and even suggested this week that he might read the transcript of the call out loud in a “fireside chat” with America.
Congressional Republicans have backed the president’s criticism of the whistleblower and the inaccuracies in the complaint which was based on a second-hand account of what transpired on the July Ukraine call.
Rep. Jim Jordan of Ohio blasted the bias of the whistleblower as well as his lack of first-hand knowledge of the call ahead of the House impeachment vote.
You always look for two things when a whistleblower comes forward:
1. Does the person have first-hand knowledge?
2. What is the person’s bias or motive?
— Oversight Committee Republicans (@GOPoversight) October 30, 2019
North Carolina Republican Rep. Mark Meadows reacted to reports of the whistleblower’s identity in a tweet noting “grave” concerns.
If the reports about the whistleblower’s identity are true, it raises grave, fundamental concerns about the basis of this Ukraine investigation—and explains why Washington Democrats continue making every effort to hide information from Americans
— Mark Meadows (@RepMarkMeadows) October 31, 2019
And while the intelligence community’s inspector general found the whistleblower’s complaint to be “credible,” he also noted that the individual could have “arguable political bias.”
Investigative reporter Sharyl Attkisson posited different angles on the whistleblower and questioned, if reports were true about his identity, that it “implies the ‘whistleblower’ could have been worried Trump was getting close to uncovering Democrat links to Ukraine’s interference in US elections in 2016.”
In a Texas campaign rally last month, Trump questioned again the whistleblower’s identity.
“What about the whistleblower? The whistleblower got it all wrong. Who’s the whistleblower?” he said to the Dallas crowd. “Who is the whistleblower? We have to know. Is the whistleblower a spy?”
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