President Donald Trump wants to know the identity of the whistleblower who raised concerns to intelligence community officials over the president asking a foreign leader to look into his political rival, and those who gave the whistleblower information.
“He either got it totally wrong, made it up, or the person giving the information to the whistleblower was dishonest,” Trump said in the Oval Office on Wednesday. “And this country has to find out who that person was because that person’s a spy, in my opinion.”
Trump’s comments are at odds with members of Congress, who are seeking to keep the whistleblower anonymous for his or her own safety. Senator Chuck Grassley said in a Tuesday statement that the whistleblower should be protected.
“This person appears to have followed the whistleblower protection laws and ought to be heard out and protected. We should always work to respect whistleblowers,” Grassley said. “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.”
At the center of the whistleblower’s complaint was a July phone call between Trump and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky. In the phone call, which was made public last month, Trump asked Zelensky to investigate 2020 Democratic presidential contender Joe Biden.
House members began a formal impeachment inquiry based on the whistleblower complaint.
Trump called the whistleblower who first alerted officials of the phone call “dishonest” and said the person should be protected only if the whistleblower is “legitimate.”
Trump also attacked House Intelligence Committee Chair Adam Schiff, who is helping to lead the impeachment inquiry, falsely accusing him of “treason” and saying he should resign from office.
Later Wednesday, Trump again blasted Schiff over a New York Times story that says the whistleblower first went to the the House Intelligence Committee before formally filing the complaint.
″[The report] shows that Schiff is a fraud,” he said. “I think it’s a scandal that he knew before. I’d go a step further. I’d say he probably helped write it.”
There’s no evidence that shows Schiff helped write the complaint.
Trump previously made his intention clear that he wanted to know the identity of the whistleblower when he said he “deserved” to meet his accuser who filed the complaint, The New York Times reported earlier this week.