“And of course, you will do anything you can to protect the whistleblower from any attempts to retaliate against him or her, correct?” Democratic Rep. Raja Krishnamoorthi of Illinois asked.

“I will not permit the whistleblower to be subject to any retaliation or adverse consequences for going to the IG. I am absolutely committed to that,” Maguire replied.

Former acting FBI Director Andrew McCabe, who is now a CNN contributor, told CNN’s Brianna Keilar following the Times’ report that Trump’s implicit threat is “exactly what government officials are not supposed to do.”

“He’s clearly targeting the person who’s filed this complaint that affects him seriously and is kind of laying the marker down that he wants this person’s identity and he wants to be able to follow-up on this. So absolutely a total contravention of all the protections for whistleblowers,” said McCabe, who added that Trump’s comments in front of US government employees suggests a message to others who might come forward with damaging information in the future.

“So you have to ask, was this some sort of a message to all of those folks and indeed a message to all people serving in the government that if they step forward with complaints, they can expect the president to come after them?”

Whistleblower’s bombshell allegation

Several White House officials were “deeply disturbed” by Trump’s July 25 phone call with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky and tried to “lock down” all records of the phone call, especially the word-for-word transcript produced by the White House, the complaint states.

The complaint has been at the centre of a controversy that has spurred Democrats to launch a formal impeachment inquiry. The White House on Wednesday also released a rough transcript of the call that shows Trump repeatedly pressed Ukraine to investigate former vice-president Joe Biden and his son, Hunter.

Caving to Democratic demands, the Trump administration let Congress release a declassified version of the complaint, one day after releasing a rough transcript of the Trump-Zelensky call. The developments triggered a flood of Democratic legislators to publicly support impeachment.

Trump has maintained that he didn’t do anything wrong, while simultaneously promoting unfounded conspiracy theories about the Bidens, Ukraine, and Russian meddling in 2016.

There is no evidence of wrongdoing by either Joe or Hunter Biden.

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