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Attorneys for Trump whistleblower push back at bias allegations

The Hill logo The Hill 6 days ago Marty Johnson
a man wearing a suit and tie: Attorneys for Trump whistleblower push back at bias allegations © Getty Images Attorneys for Trump whistleblower push back at bias allegations

Lawyers for a member of the U.S. intelligence community who filed a whistleblower complaint against President Trump defended their client on Wednesday against criticism from the president.

Attorneys Andrew Bakaj and Mark Zaid issued a statement and a series of tweets pushing back at allegations raised by Trump and others over reports that the intelligence official had come into contact with Democratic lawmakers.

The lawyers said the intelligence official they represent "has never worked for or advised a political candidate, campaign, or party."

The official "has spent their entire government career in apolitical, civil servant positions in the Executive Branch" where they came "into contact with presidential candidates from both parties in their roles as elected officials - not as candidates," the statement read.

Trump had issued a series of tweets on Tuesday night in which he highlighted recent reporting alleging that the whistleblower had a "professional" tie to a Democratic presidential candidate.

"The (big deal) Whistleblower had a 'PROFESSIONAL TIE' to 2020 Democratic Candidate," Trump tweeted, quoting the headline from a Washington Examiner article by Byron York published earlier in the day.

The Examiner, citing unidentified sources, reported that intelligence community Inspector General (ICIG) Michael Atkinson told lawmakers in a closed-door testimony last week that the whistleblower previously had "some type of professional relationship" with one of the Democrats running for president.

Axios later confirmed details of the Examiner report.

The lawyers issued their defense on Twitter on Wednesday after Trump tweeted to accuse the whistleblower of lying about his call with the president of Ukraine, a conversation that is at the center of House Democrats' impeachment inquiry.

"The so-called Whistleblower, before knowing I was going to release the exact Transcript, stated that my call with the Ukrainian President was 'crazy, frightening, and completely lacking in substance related to national security,'" Trump tweeted. "This is a very big Lie. Read the Transcript!"

Bakaj and Zaid noted in their statement that "the whistleblower voluntarily provided relevant career information to the ICIG in order to facilitate an assessment of the credibility of the complaint" and that the watchdog "concluded - as is well known - that the complaint was both urgent and credible."

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