Trump rails against whistleblower, 'spy' within administration

President TrumpDonald John TrumpSenate gears up for battle over witnesses in impeachment trial Vulnerable Democrats tout legislative wins, not impeachment Trump appears to set personal record for tweets in a day 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 BidenSenate gears up for battle over witnesses in impeachment trial Conservative group hits White House with billboard ads: 'What is Trump hiding?' Democrat representing Pennsylvania district Trump carried plans to vote to impeach  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 GrassleyThe Hill's Morning Report - Sponsored by AdvaMed - House panel expected to approve impeachment articles Thursday Horowitz did not find evidence Obama asked for probe of Trump Live coverage: DOJ inspector general testifies on Capitol Hill 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 MitchellConservative group hits White House with billboard ads: 'What is Trump hiding?' Ed Markey, John Rutherford among victors at charity pumpkin-carving contest Trump says his Doral resort will no longer host G-7 after backlash 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 SchiffMcConnell, White House lawyer huddle on impeachment strategy House GOP lawmaker wants Senate to hold 'authentic' impeachment trial Live coverage: House panel debates articles of impeachment MORE (D-Calif.) said at a press conference Wednesday morning that Trump's attacks on the whistleblower amounted to an "incitement of violence."