While President Donald Trump has been casting aspersions on the whistleblower who alleged misconduct by the president regarding Ukraine, Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) has come to the whistleblower's defense, Politico reported.
Trump has repeatedly called for an opportunity to find out who the whistleblower is, meet them, and even interview them, about the complaint, which contains second-hand information and media reporting. But Grassley said the whistleblower deserves protection.
"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," Grassley said. "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."
Grassley has long been passionate and active in preserving whistleblower protections, and this situation is no different in his opinion. He urged patience and caution in moving forward and called for stakeholders to follow up on the facts before rejecting the complaint.
"...the distinctions being drawn between first- and second-hand knowledge aren't legal ones ... No one should be making judgments or pronouncements without hearing from the whistleblower first and carefully following up on the facts," Grassley said.
Meanwhile, President Trump has suggested that the whistleblower is a spy who should face severe punishment for his or her actions.
"In addition, I want to meet not only my accuser, who presented SECOND & THIRD HAND INFORMATION, but also the person who illegally gave this information, which was largely incorrect, to the 'whistleblower,'" Trump said. "Was this person SPYING on the U.S. President? Big Consequences!"
The whistleblower complaint, as well as a transcript of a July call between President Trump and Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelensky, is being used by Democrats as evidence that the president has abused the office of the presidency to pressure a foreign government to investigate a political opponent — potential grounds for impeachment. Most Republicans in Congress aren't buying it, though.
"I don't see any evidence yet of any crime. Or any evidence approaching a crime. If there is any evidence or if there are any actual facts to that effect, I hope somebody will come forward with them. But we have right now is a bunch of speculation," Sen. Josh Hawley (R-Mo.) said. "We do have the transcript. It's the only actual hard piece of data that we've got. It doesn't show a crime."