CBS’ ‘60 Minutes’ Stands By Its Bogus Reporting That Whistleblower Is Under Federal Protection

CBS’ ‘60 Minutes’ Stands By Its Bogus Reporting That Whistleblower Is Under Federal Protection

CBS’ “60 Minutes” falsely reported Sunday that the anonymous whistleblower that lodged a formal complaint against President Donald Trump earlier this month is under federal protection, based on a letter from the complainant’s legal counsel that says otherwise.

“‘60 Minutes’ has obtained a letter that indicates the government whistleblower who set off the impeachment inquiry of President Trump is under federal protection, because he or she fears for their safety,” the outlet reported.

The letter, which is even posted in the story and is now available online, says nothing about the whistleblower being under federal protection. The whistleblower’s lawyers conveyed concerns about their client’s personal safety, including a claim that “certain individuals” have offered a $50,000 bounty for the anonymous person, but did not write that they have been granted protection by federal authorities. At a private event on Thursday, Trump labeled the whistleblower as “close to a spy,” and alluded to the person’s execution.

Mark Zaid, an attorney representing the government whistleblower, called out CBS’ false reporting on Twitter.

“60 Minutes completely misinterpreted contents of our letter,” Zaid wrote. “Nor have we, as we stated earlier today, reached any agreement with Congress on contact with the whistleblower. Discussions remain ongoing.”

CBS, however, is standing by its claims.

“60 Minutes stands by its sources and reporting on the whistleblower,” the program wrote on Twitter.

The statement prompted a Twitter rebuttal from Zaid, who is directly representing the person in question.

“Is @60Minutes now asserting it has a source other than letter our legal team sent to @ODNIgov?” Zaid asked through Twitter. “Because if it doesn’t, and I know it doesn’t, then it is literally making stuff up. That helps no one, especially the #whistleblower.”

The letter comes as speculation mounts over the identity of the alleged whistleblower, who filed a formal complaint against Trump based on a July phone call between the president and his Ukrainian counterpart, Volodymyr Zelensky.

The complaint, which was determined to be “credible” and “urgent” by the intelligence inspector general but not by the Department of National Intelligence, has spurred Democratic calls for Trump’s impeachment and is based entirely on hearsay with claims that Trump conspired with Zelensky to meddle in the 2020 presidential election.

The whistleblower is expected to appear before members of the House Intelligence Committee, chaired by Rep. Adam Schiff, D-Calif., soon behind closed doors.

Zaid reports that discussions with Congress about the potential testimony are ongoing, with a date and time still to be determined.

Tristan Justice is a staff writer at The Federalist focusing on the 2020 presidential campaigns. Follow him on Twitter at @JusticeTristan or contact him at [email protected]
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