Republican senators have attacked the credibility of the whistleblower who filed a complaint as they are struggling to prevent a formal impeachment inquiry against President Donald Trump, The Hill reported.
Lawmakers at the GOP have claimed that the whistleblower was not informed well of the actions that were detailed in the complaint, hence their questioning whether this person had some political agenda.
Senator Chuck Grassley, who has had a reputation for protecting whistleblowers, said the one at the center of the Trump impeachment inquiry didn’t necessarily deserve protections.
“If they are not really a whistle blower, they don’t get the protection,” he said.
The remarks from Grassley, Cornyn and other senators echo arguments coming from Trump, but stand in stark contrast to the testimony last week from acting Director of National Intelligence Joseph Maguire, who said the whistleblower acted in good faith.
“I think the whistleblower did the right thing,” Maguire told the House Intelligence Committee.
But Senate Judiciary Chairman Lindsey Graham said reading the whistleblower’s complaint “makes me more suspicious about how all this happened.”
“I want to know who was the person that went to the whistleblower,” he said.
Graham said that whistleblowers typically report witnessing basic facts and firsthand evidence and raised concern about what some Republicans see as a not-so-subtle attempt to draw up a criminal indictment of Trump.
“This was a fairly sophisticated effort to write a narrative rather than blow a whistle,” he said.
A Senate Republican aide predicted that the whistleblower’s name will likely become public either because that person will agree to testify publicly or the name will leak to the press.
The attacks on the whistleblower come with high stakes, as GOP leaders see their political fate as closely tied to Trump’s in next year’s elections.
Several Republican lawmakers publicly and privately acknowledged over the past week that the content of the transcript of a July 25 call between Trump and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, in which Trump urged Ukrainian officials to investigate Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden, was damaging.
Senator Mitt Romney called the transcript “troubling in the extreme” while Senator Ben Sasse, who recently secured Trump’s endorsement for reelection, warned “there’s obviously lots that’s very troubling here.”
A handful of Republicans have expressed shock that Trump released the transcript of the President’s conversation with Zelensky and an unredacted version of the whistleblower’s complaint, fearing it gave Democrats ammunition.