Trump rails against whistleblower, 'spy' within administration

President TrumpDonald John TrumpWhere do we go from here? Conservation can show the way Gov. Ron DeSantis more popular in Florida than Trump Sotomayor accuses Supreme Court of bias in favor of Trump administration 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.

ADVERTISEMENT

"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 BidenThe Democratic nominee won't be democratically chosen Fox's Ingraham mocks DNC over Nevada voting malfunctions: 'Are we a Third World country?' At Democratic debate, missed opportunities on immigration 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 GrassleyMcSally unveils bill to lower drug prices amid tough campaign Ernst endorses bipartisan Grassley-Wyden bill to lower drug prices Overnight Health Care: Nevada union won't endorse before caucuses after 'Medicare for All' scrap | McConnell tees up votes on two abortion bills | CDC confirms 15th US coronavirus case 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 MitchellOvernight Health Care — Presented by Partnership for America's Health Care Future — House to condemn Trump plan for Medicaid block grants | Chinese doctor who warned of coronavirus dies | CDC ships coronavirus tests GOP lawmaker shreds Democratic resolution on House floor Democrats tear into Trump's speech: It was a 'MAGA rally' 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 SchiffPelosi blasts Trump's 'dangerous' pick for intelligence chief Sanders says he was briefed on Russian effort to help campaign Trump: Democrats 'trying to start a rumor' about 2020 Russian interference MORE (D-Calif.) said at a press conference Wednesday morning that Trump's attacks on the whistleblower amounted to an "incitement of violence."