WASHINGTON — President Trump on Tuesday kept his focus on an anonymous whistle-blower, asking why he was not “entitled to interview” the person, a day after he said the White House was trying to find out the person’s identity, despite institutional directives and confidentiality protections.
In addition to interviewing the “so-called ‘Whistleblower,’” Mr. Trump wrote on Twitter on Tuesday, he would also like to interview “the person who gave all of the false information to him.” On Sunday, Mr. Trump tweeted, “Like every American, I deserve to meet my accuser.”
Mr. Trump’s focus on the whistle-blower is one of several ways the White House has addressed the complaint — which alleged that Mr. Trump was using his office for personal gain — and the phone call at the center of it between Mr. Trump and President Volodymyr Zelensky of Ukraine. Mr. Trump has repeatedly defended his conversation with Mr. Zelensky as “perfect.”
Mr. Trump is particularly focused on the source of the information the whistle-blower disclosed and the fact that much of the whistle-blower’s most serious allegations were not witnessed firsthand .
But witnessing actions is not a requirement for filing a complaint, according to the inspector general of the intelligence community, which said on Monday in a release that a whistle-blower “need not possess firsthand information in order to file a complaint or information with respect to an urgent concern.”
Although Mr. Trump wants to learn the identity of the whistle-blower, policies have been devised to prevent that.
“The law and policy supports protection of the identity of the whistle-blower from disclosure and from retaliation,” Mark Zaid, a lawyer representing the whistle-blower, has said. “No exceptions exist for any individual.”
House Democrats announced an impeachment inquiry last week into the allegations before the full complaint and the reconstructed transcript were released.
Since then, the House has subpoenaed Mr. Trump’s private lawyer, Rudolph W. Giuliani. Mr. Giuliani’s name comes up multiple times in the July 25 conversation between the president and Mr. Zelensky, and he has publicly acknowledged trying to gather damaging information on Democrats from Ukrainian officials, specifically targeting former Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr., a leading Democratic presidential candidate for the 2020 race against Mr. Trump.
Mr. Giuliani did not say how he planned to respond to the subpoena, if at all. House Democrats have warned Trump administration officials not to stonewall their investigation. And Senator Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, the majority leader, said on Monday that if the House impeached Mr. Trump, “I would have no choice but to take it up.” It was the first time Mr. McConnell confirmed that the Senate would have to hold a trial and was a sign that the fallout from the phone call was not likely to disappear.
House investigators have arranged to meet privately with the whistle-blower, although a date has not been set.