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GOP Senator Defends Whistleblower Against Trump’s Harsh Remarks

After an impeachment inquiry was announced by Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi last month, many Republicans came out with strong defenses against allegations made toward President Donald Trump.

Photo by Anna Moneymaker/Getty Images

But some in the GOP have expressed major qualms with the president’s rhetoric toward a whistleblower, who alleged that Trump put pressure on Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelensky to investigate Democratic candidate for president Joe Biden.

Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) didn’t mention Trump by name in a statement he issued on Tuesday, but it was clear his message was directed toward him and others who are trying to defend the commander-in-chief.

Grassley responded to attacks against trying to unmask who the whistleblower was. “This person appears to have followed the whistleblower protection laws and ought to be heard out and protected,” he said in a written statement. “We should always work to respect whistleblowers’ requests for confidentiality.”

The Senate Finance Committee chairman also denounced attacks made against the whistleblower, which seems to be a direct contradiction to Trump’s behavior in recent days.

“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,” Grassley said.

Trump has been immensely critical of the unidentified whistleblower, attacking them in tweets for making allegations using “second & third hand information” as he put it. Trump also demanded to meet with the whistleblower personally, and accused them and others who provided documents to them of acting as spies within the government.

Grassley denounced those types of attacks in his statement. “When it comes to whether someone qualifies as a whistleblower, the distinctions being drawn between first- and second-hand knowledge aren’t legal ones,” he explained. “It’s just not part of whistleblower protection law or any agency policy.”

He added that, although such types of information do deserve scrutiny, such information “should not be rejected out of hand.

Grassley also seemed to chastise media outlets, such as the New York Times, that in recent days have revealed aspects about the whistleblower’s identity. “Any further media reports on the whistleblower’s identity don’t serve the public interest — even if the conflict sells more papers or attracts clicks,” he wrote.

Grassley didn’t say whether he supported the impeachment inquiry or not that was started in the House of Representatives, but it seemed toward the end of his message that he was skeptical overall about impeachment.

“[I]nquiries that put impeachment first and facts last don’t weigh very credibly. Folks just ought to be responsible with their words,” he said.