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Chuck Grassley Defends Whistleblower amid Trump Threats, Criticizes ‘Uninformed Speculation’ on Impeachment

Sen. Chuck Grassley speaks in Washington, D.C., September 4, 2018. (Joshua Roberts/Reuters)

Senator Chuck Grassley (R., Iowa) released a statement Tuesday defending the Trump-Ukraine whistleblower’s right to “confidentiality” and scolding “politicians and media commentators” for deploying “uninformed speculation” in service of various partisan agendas.

The move comes as President Trump has called repeatedly for the identity of the whistleblower to be revealed. Trump tweeted Tuesday morning that if the whistleblower “has all secondhand information … why aren’t we entitled to interview and learn everything about the Whistleblower.”

The New York Times reported Sept. 26 that the whistleblower was a “C.I.A. officer detailed to the White House at one point” and had originally reported the potential abuse of power to the CIA general counsel. The move drew heavy criticism for revealing personal information about the whistleblower.

On Monday afternoon, the president told reporters in the Oval Office that he is “trying to find out” the identity of the whistleblower, claiming the person “reported a totally different statement” on Trump’s July phone call with the Ukrainian president.

Trump allies have also recently focused on a controversy surrounding a recent update to the IGIC’s whistleblower reporting policy, alleging that the whistleblower was allowed to circumvent a first-hand knowledge requirement in submitting the complaint. The Inspector General’s office released a statement Monday disputing that claim.

“The whistleblower filed a form that had been around for about a year. On that form he indicated that he had a mix of first- and secondhand knowledge, not just secondhand knowledge,” the document reads. “Further, it has never been the office’s policy to reject complaints that lack firsthand knowledge, a requirement also not found in the underlying laws.”

Grassley, who has defended whistleblower rights throughout his career, also took apparent aim at Nancy Pelosi’s decision to formally announce impeachment proceedings before seeing both the transcript of Trump’s call and the text of the whistleblower complaint. “Inquiries that put impeachment first and facts last don’t weigh very credibly,” the press release states. “Folks just ought to be responsible with their words.”

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