White House

Ignoring federal protection, Trump says hunt is on for whistleblower

Attorney warns president is putting his client’s safety at risk amid impeachment inquiry

President Donald Trump and Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte talk to reporters in the Oval Office at the White House on July 18. Trump is looking for a whistleblower who pushed House Democrats to begin an impeachment inquiry. (Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

Despite legal protections guaranteed to whistleblowers, the search is on inside the White House for the intelligence community official who raised concerns about Donald Trump’s conversation with Ukraine’s leader, the U.S. president said Monday.

“We’re trying to find out” the individual’s identity, the president said.

Even though he acknowledged again Monday he does not know who the person is, he has accused the person of having a political “bias” and being part of a “political hack job.”

The whistleblower’s attorney says Trump is putting his safety at risk.

[Trump is a one-man war room on impeachment inquiry]

The president made that remark when he took a single question in the Oval Office after Vice President Mike Pence swore in new Labor Secretary Eugene Scalia.

It came after a morning - and weekend-long - volley of presidential tweets ripping the still-anonymous whistleblower and most of the top House Democrats involved in their impeachment inquiry.

That probe is centered on the July 25 between Trump and Volodymyr Zelenskiy, during which, according to a White House-prepared summary released last week, the American leader asked his counterpart to “do us a favor” by investigating former Vice President Joe Biden and son Hunter Biden.

The “favor” ask came immediately after Zekenskiy had expressed a desire, once in office, to purchase additional U.S.-made military hardware. Many House Democrats say that violates federal law because Trump appears to have been seeking a personal political benefit from a foreign government.

[Early Trump ally Chris Collins resigning ahead of plea hearing]

For his part, the president continues describing the phone call as “perfect” and “beautiful.”

Trump’s White House tried and failed to find the author of an anonymous op-ed piece that described an internal effort to keep the country safe from Trump’s actions. 

 

Get breaking news alerts and more from Roll Call on your iPhone.