Politics|Trump Wants to ‘Interview’ Whistle-Blower
President Trump kept his focus on the whistle-blower who raised concerns about his phone call with the Ukrainian president.
WASHINGTON – President Trump on Tuesday kept his focus on an anonymous whistle-blower, asking why he was not “entitled to interview”the person, a day after he said the White House was trying to find out the person’s identity, despite institutional directives and confidentiality protections.
In addition to interviewing the “so-called ‘Whistleblower,’”Mr. Trump said on Tuesday, he would also like to interview “the person who gave all of the false information to him.” On Sunday, Mr. Trump said, “Like every American, I deserve to meet my accuser.”
Mr. Trump’s focus on the whistle-blower is one of several ways the White House has addressed the complaint – which alleged that Mr. Trump was using his office for personal gain – and the phone call at the center of it between Mr. Trump and President Volodymyr Zelensky of Ukraine. Mr. Trump has repeatedly defended his conversation with Mr. Trump Zelensky as “perfect.”
Mr. Trump’s focus on learning the identity of the whistle-blower is inappropriate at best.
“The law and policy supports protection of the identity of the whistle-blower from disclosure and from retaliation,” a lawyer representing the whistle-blower, Mark Zaid, has said . “No exceptions exist for any individual.”
House Democrats announced an impeachment inquiry last week into the allegations before the full complaint andreconstructed transcriptwere released.
Since then, the House hassubpoenaedTrump’s private lawyer, Rudolph W. Giuliani. Mr. Giuliani’s name comes up multiple times in the July 25 conversation between the president and Mr. Zelensky, and he has publicly acknowledged trying to gather damaging information on Democrats from Ukrainian officials, specifically targeting former Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr., a leading Democratic presidential candidate for the 2020 race against Mr. Trump.
Giuliani did not say how he planned to respond to the subpoena, if at all. House Democrats have warned Trump administration officials not to stonewall their investigation. And Senator Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, the majority leader,said Mondaythat if the HouseimpeachedTrump, “I would have no choice but to take it up.” It was the first time McConnell addressed the Ukraine impeachment inquiry and was a sign that the fallout from the phone call was not likely to disappear.
House investigators have arranged to meet privately with the whistle-blower , although a date has not been set.
Eileen Sullivan is the morning breaking news correspondent in Washington. She previously worked for The Associated Press for a decade, covering national security and criminal justice.@esullivannyt
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