Trump rails against whistleblower, 'spy' within administration

President TrumpDonald John TrumpNew Jersey incumbents steamroll progressive challengers in primaries Tucker Carlson ratchets up criticism of Duckworth, calls her a 'coward' Trump on Confederate flag: 'It's freedom of speech' 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 BidenTucker Carlson ratchets up criticism of Duckworth, calls her a 'coward' Joe Biden wins New Jersey primary Biden wins Delaware primary 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 GrassleyClash looms over next coronavirus relief bill Trump says GOP 'flexible' on convention plans Overnight Defense: House Dems offer M for Army to rename bases | Bill takes aim at money for Trump's border wall | Suspect in custody after shooting at Marine training facility  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 MitchellHouse Armed Services votes to make Pentagon rename Confederate-named bases in a year Rep. Lloyd Smucker added to House GOP leadership GOP lawmakers say Steve King's loss could help them in November 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 SchiffDemocrats hit Trump for handling of Russian bounty allegations after White House briefing Voters must strongly reject the president's abuses by voting him out this November Democrats face tough questions with Bolton MORE (D-Calif.) said at a press conference Wednesday morning that Trump's attacks on the whistleblower amounted to an "incitement of violence."