Grassley defends whistleblower amid Trump attack

Sen. Chuck GrassleyCharles (Chuck) Ernest GrassleyFalling investment revives attacks against Trump's tax cuts Overnight Health Care: CDC links vitamin E oil to vaping illnesses | White House calls Pelosi drug price plan 'unworkable' | Dem offers bill for state-based 'Medicare for All' White House says Pelosi plan to lower drug prices 'unworkable' MORE (R-Iowa) defended a whistleblower at the center of the impeachment fight on Tuesday, saying the individual deserves to be "heard out and protected."

“This person appears to have followed the whistleblower protection laws and ought to be heard out and protected. We should always work to respect whistleblowers’ requests for confidentiality," Grassley, who is the chairman of the Senate Whistleblower Protection Caucus, said in a statement.

ADVERTISEMENT

The GOP senator also knocked "uninformed speculation" about the whistleblower and warned against additional reports about the person's identity after The New York Times reported last week that the individual is a male CIA officer.

“No one should be making judgments or pronouncements without hearing from the whistleblower first and carefully following up on the facts. Uninformed speculation wielded by politicians or media commentators as a partisan weapon is counterproductive and doesn’t serve the country," he said.

While Grassley doesn't mention President TrumpDonald John TrumpThis week: House kicks off public phase of impeachment inquiry Impeachment week: Trump probe hits crucial point Judd Gregg: The big, big and bigger problem MORE in his statement, his comments come after the president and some of his allies have lashed out at the whistleblower who filed a complaint about Trump's interactions with the president of Ukraine.

Trump, asked on Monday if he knows the person's identity, told reporters that the White House is "trying to find out" about the whistleblower.

Trump doubled down in a tweet on Tuesday, reiterating that he wants to meet the whistleblower.

"Why aren’t we entitled to interview & learn everything about the Whistleblower, and also the person who gave all of the false information to him," he tweeted.

Trump and some of his allies had also publicly floated that the intelligence community inspector general had changed the rules for filing a complaint just before the whistleblower on the Ukraine call came forward.

The inspector general pushed back on that, saying on Monday that the whistleblower complaint, which centered on a July call in which Trump asked the Ukrainian president to investigate former Vice President Joe BidenJoe BidenImpeachment week: Trump probe hits crucial point Trump DACA fight hits Supreme Court Juan Williams: Honesty, homophobia and Mayor Pete MORE and his son, was processed under procedures put in place in May 2018.

The inspector general added that a complainant is not required to have firsthand knowledge, adding that the whistleblower had both firsthand information and information from others about the subject.

Grassley added in his statement on Tuesday that "complaints based on second-hand information should not be rejected out of hand, but they do require additional leg work to get at the facts and evaluate the claim’s credibility."