Murphy blasts GOP on whistleblower response: 'We're watching this country turn into a banana republic'

Sen. Chris MurphyChristopher (Chris) Scott MurphyThe Hill's Morning Report - Sanders steamrolls to South Carolina primary, Super Tuesday Sunday shows - 2020 spotlight shifts to South Carolina Murphy: No concerns with Sanders on gun policy MORE (D-Conn.) knocked Republicans on Monday over a largely muted response to a whistleblower complaint reportedly linked to President TrumpDonald John TrumpTrump suggests Sotomayor, Ginsburg should have to recuse themselves on 'Trump related' cases Sanders says idea he can't work with Republicans is 'total nonsense' Sanders releases list of how to pay for his proposals MORE

"This is an extraordinary moment. We're watching this country turn into a banana republic. Republicans better be careful what they wish for because a Democratic president could use the same tools that Donald Trump is using to turn the White House into just one big extension of his reelection campaign," Murphy told reporters. 

"This is just a head shaking moment for me that Republicans don't give a damn about the national security of this country and are willing to let the president get away with this fundamental corruption. If that is the direction that they take—attacking the whistleblower, trying to cover up this corruption, it's a really, really sad day for the country," Murphy added. 

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Murphy's comments come after he was told about Sen. John CornynJohn CornynGOP casts Sanders as 2020 boogeyman Ocasio-Cortez announces slate of all-female congressional endorsements Trump Medicaid proposal sparks bipartisan warnings MORE (R-Texas) questioning if the whistleblower at the center of the current scandal is a "leaker." 

"Is it a whistleblower or a leaker? I don't know which," Cornyn said, asked about the whistleblower complaint and if it should be turned over to lawmakers. 

Sen. Lindsey GrahamLindsey Olin GrahamThis week: House to vote on legislation to make lynching a federal hate crime Congress set for clash over surveillance reforms Five things to know about emerging US, Taliban peace deal MORE (R-S.C.) while urging Trump to be transparent about a phone call with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, has also called for an investigation into former Vice President Joe BidenJoe BidenSanders defends Castro comments in wake of backlash from some Democrats Klobuchar releases medical report that says she's in 'very good health' Candidates face pressure to exit presidential race MORE and his son, Hunter Biden. 

"I think the best way to do this, quite frankly, and that’s a good question, is for somebody independent of politics to ... look, it doesn’t have to be a special counsel, but to look at the substance of that interview. Was any money paid to the Bidens, Hunter Biden? What was it paid for? Was there any interaction between the prosecutor being dismissed and these transactions?" Graham told radio host Hugh Hewitt on Monday.  

Several Republican senators declined to directly weigh in on Monday, arguing that they didn't have enough information about the complaint and the allegation that Trump or his lawyer Rudy GiulianiRudy GiulianiHouse panel says key witness isn't cooperating in probe into Yovanovitch surveillance Pennsylvania Democrat says US Attorney's Office should prioritize opioids rather than 'Russian propaganda' from Giuliani Bill Barr is trying his best to be Trump's Roy Cohn MORE attempted to persuade Zelensky to investigate Biden or his son.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellSchumer on Trump intel shakeup: 'Disgrace,' 'closer to a banana republic' Bottom Line The Hill's 12:30 Report: Sanders's momentum puts Democrats on edge MORE (R-Ky.) knocked Democrats for trying to "politicize" the complaint, but sidestepped weighing in on the substance of the allegation against Trump. He noted that Senate Intelligence Committee Chairman Richard BurrRichard Mauze BurrSchumer on Trump intel shakeup: 'Disgrace,' 'closer to a banana republic' This week: House to vote on legislation to make lynching a federal hate crime Congress set for clash over surveillance reforms MORE (R-N.C.) is trying to set up a closed-door briefing with the intelligence community inspector general. 

Sen. John ThuneJohn Randolph ThuneGOP casts Sanders as 2020 boogeyman McConnell tees up votes on two abortion bills Senate votes to rein in Trump's power to attack Iran MORE (R-S.D.), the No. 2 Senate Republican, similarly pointed to the committee as a starting point for lawmakers. 

"My understanding is that Burr is trying to get the inspector general and the DNI to come up in front of his committee. I would prefer because of some of the sensitivity of the national security implications involved in all of this that he started there," Thune said. 

Pressed if he thought the administration should hand over the complaint, he added that they should "proceed with caution." 

"I would hope that whatever information is available that is in possession of the inspector general, of the DNI that we would get access to that," he said.