Trump goes on tweet offensive about whistleblower, his 'perfect call' and 'Liddle' Adam Schiff

The tweets included a confounding attack on CNN.
Image: House Intelligence Committee Chairman Representative Adam Schiff
House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff at a news conference on Capitol Hill on Sept. 25, 2019.Brendan Smialowsk / AFP - Getty Images

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By Dareh Gregorian

President Donald Trump went on a Twitter offensive Friday against a government whistleblower and the Democrats who've launched an impeachment inquiry into him focused on the whistleblower's complaint.

In the span of four hours, Trump demanded a top House Democrat resign, attacked the press and defended his phone call with the Ukrainian president, in which he asked the leader to look into former Vice President Joe Biden and his son, as "very legal and very good."

Trump, who was caught on tape at a closed-door event Thursday saying whoever gave the whistleblower information were "close to a spy" who should be handled like "in the old days," went after the whistleblower directly Friday morning.

"Sounding more and more like the so-called Whistleblower isn’t a Whistleblower at all," Trump tweeted, without offering any evidence for his claim. "In addition, all second hand information that proved to be so inaccurate that there may not have even been somebody else, a leaker or spy, feeding it to him or her? A partisan operative?"

It's unclear what inaccuracy Trump was referring to. The whistleblower's complaint, which was made public Thursday, comported with a detailed description of Trump's July phone call with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy that was released by the White House. In the call, the president urged his foreign counterpart to investigate Biden and his son Hunter that description showed.

Hunter Biden had served on the board of a Ukrainian gas company that previously was under investigation by the country's top prosecutor; that prosecutor, who was widely believed to be soft on corruption, was later removed by Ukraine's Parliament amid pressure from the United States and other Western countries.

On Tuesday, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi opened the impeachment inquiry over the call, which Trump has maintained was "very nice," and other administration actions alleged in the whistleblower's complaint. More than half of House members now say they support some type of impeachment action.

Trump returned to the call in his Friday tweets.

"It wasn't bad, it was very legal and very good," he insisted about the phone conversation.

“IT WAS A PERFECT CONVERSATION WITH UKRAINE PRESIDENT!” he wrote hours later.

"If that perfect phone call with the President of Ukraine Isn’t considered appropriate, then no future President can EVER again speak to another foreign leader!" he tweeted hours after that.

Trump has been on a Twitter tear since Thursday morning, when the whistleblower's complaint was made public by the House Intelligence Committee ahead of testimony from Trump's acting director of national intelligence, Joseph Maguire. Democrats have accused Maguire of trying to cover up the complaint by not referring it to Congress, as federal whistleblower law directs him to. Maguire said he did not at the advice of the Justice Department.

Trump blasted the committee's chairman, Adam Schiff, D-Calif., for what he said was his misleading characterization of the July phone call. At the hearing, Schiff himself described his remarks as a "parody" of Trump's conversation.

"He must resign and be investigated," Trump tweeted Friday. "He has been doing this for two years. He is a sick man!"

Trump also fired off a confounding complaint about CNN for apparently questioning his use of the word "Liddle'" in one of his earlier tweets about Schiff.

"To show you how dishonest the LameStream Media is, I used the word Liddle’, not Liddle, in discribing Corrupt Congressman Liddle’ Adam Schiff. Low ratings @CNN purposely took the hyphen out and said I spelled the word little wrong," Trump complained, misspelling the word describing while apparently referring to an apostrophe as a hyphen.

Democratic and Republican lawmakers have called on Maguire to make sure the whistleblower is protected. Maguire, who said he believed the whistleblower was acting in "good faith," maintained that he would.

Schiff echoed that call in an interview with NBC News on Friday. "We want to make sure, obviously, that everything is done to protect this whistleblower, particularly when the president has been threatening people," Schiff said.

Alex Moe contributed.