FBI Wants to Interview the Whistleblower

WASHINGTON (AP) — The FBI has requested an interview with the whistleblower whose complaint fueled the impeachment inquiry of President Donald Trump, a person familiar with the situation said Wednesday.

An agent from the FBI’s Washington field office reached out to the whistleblower’s attorneys in October to seek an interview about the substance of the complaint, according to this person, who insisted on anonymity to discuss the request with The Associated Press.

The person said it was clear from the FBI that the whistleblower was not regarded as the target of an investigation, but as a potential witness.

It was not clear what specifically the FBI might be looking into. The requested interview has not taken place.

An FBI spokeswoman declined to comment on the request, which was first reported by Yahoo News.

The whistleblower, a CIA officer, filed a complaint on Aug. 12 about Trump’s phone call weeks earlier with Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelensky. During the call, Trump pressed for investigations of Democratic rival Joe Biden and of the 2016 U.S. presidential election.

A rough transcript of the call was released in September by the White House. The Democratic-controlled House then opened an impeachment inquiry centered on Trump’s effort to seek political investigations on a domestic rival at the same time the U.S. was withholding $391 million in military aid to Ukraine.

Trump has said he wants to know the identity of the whistleblower. House Democrats have said they do not need to hear from the whistleblower as part of the impeachment inquiry but have heard from multiple witnesses who, unlike the whistleblower, listened to the phone call between the two leaders.

U.S. whistleblower laws protect the identity and careers of people who bring forward accusations of wrongdoing by government officials. Lawmakers in both parties have historically backed those protections.

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