Trump rails against whistleblower, 'spy' within administration

President TrumpDonald John TrumpZuckerberg launches public defense of Facebook as attacks mount Trump leaning toward keeping a couple hundred troops in eastern Syria: report Warren says making Israel aid conditional on settlement building is 'on the table' MORE on Wednesday said the country should find out the identity of the person who provided information to a whistleblower who raised concerns about his phone call with the Ukrainian president.

Trump railed against the whistleblower during an Oval Office meeting with the president of Finland, telling reporters that the individual portrayed his July 25 call with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky in a "vicious" way.

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"In other words, he either got it totally wrong, made it up, or the person giving the information to the whistleblower was dishonest," Trump said. "And this country has to find out who that person was, because that person's a spy, in my opinion."

Trump's attacks on the whistleblower come as members of both political parties have voiced support for upholding legal protections for the individual.

"I think a whistleblower should be protected if the whistleblower is legitimate," Trump said when asked about those comments from lawmakers.

Trump has gone on the offensive against the whistleblower, who anonymously filed a complaint with the intelligence community inspector general in August after they were concerned by Trump's conduct on a July 25 call with the Ukrainian president.

The whistleblower complaint, which was made public last week, matches with a rough White House transcript of the call. It alleges that Trump urged the Ukrainian president to look into Democratic presidential candidate Joe BidenJoe BidenZuckerberg launches public defense of Facebook as attacks mount Graham: 'Stupid' for Trump to ask China to investigate Biden Romney: Republicans don't criticize Trump because they fear it will help Warren MORE and that the White House sought to contain access to the contents of the call.

The complaint was based on firsthand information and information from other sources, the inspector general of the intelligence committee said this week.

During a conversation with U.S. diplomats last week, Trump reportedly suggested that those behind the whistleblower complaint should face severe punishment like spies did decades ago.

Trump has blasted the whistleblower as a partisan and questioned their loyalty to the country. He has claimed he has a right to interview the individual, even though protections exist to keep a whistleblower's identity anonymous.

The Whistleblower Protection Act makes it a violation for federal agencies to threaten retaliation against individuals who come forward to raise concerns of wrongdoing within the government.

"No one should be making judgments or pronouncements without hearing from the whistleblower first and carefully following up on the facts," Sen. Chuck GrassleyCharles (Chuck) Ernest GrassleyState cites 38 people for violations in Clinton email review Lawmakers from both sides of the aisle mourn Cummings GOP cautions Graham against hauling Biden before Senate MORE (R-Iowa) said in a statement on Tuesday. "Uninformed speculation wielded by politicians or media commentators as a partisan weapon is counterproductive and doesn’t serve the country."

Rep. Paul MitchellPaul MitchellTrump says his Doral resort will no longer host G-7 after backlash House Republicans voice concerns about White House's impeachment messaging Trump rails against whistleblower, 'spy' within administration MORE (R-Mich.), a member of House GOP leadership, said late Tuesday that the law protecting whistleblowers should be respected. 

House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam SchiffAdam Bennett SchiffTrump lashes out at Pelosi as she visits Jordan to discuss Syria Trump's insult-comic act enters danger zone  White House staggers after tumultuous 48 hours MORE (D-Calif.) said at a press conference Wednesday morning that Trump's attacks on the whistleblower amounted to an "incitement of violence."