Sen. Johnson wants answers on reported changes to whistleblower requirements

NOW: Sen. Johnson wants answers on reported changes to whistleblower requirements

MADISON, Wis. (CBS 58) -- Sen. Ron Johnson, R-WI, wrote a letter Monday to the U.S. Inspector General, asking for answers on a reported change in U.S. whistleblower policy, which allowed the complaint about President Donald Trump's call with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky.

Johnson, who wrote the letter with Sen. Chuck Grassley, R-IA, and Sen. Mike Lee, R-UT, said the policy was changed in August, shortly before the complaint against the president was released. He said before those changes, only first-hand accounts qualified for whistleblower complaints.

"Now it's OK for second hand, hearsay, rumor to be used," Johnson said. "And as a result of that, he leaked that. And there's the real wrongdoers. Whoever leaked this information to make it public, they've done a great deal of damage to our foreign policy."

As far as his stance on impeachment, Johnson said he does not believe Trump was asking for a personal political favor from Zelensky in return for military aid.

"President Trump is concerned about corruption in Ukraine before he spends hard-earned American taxpayer dollars on that," said Johnson. "He's also highly concerned about, and he's been very consistent on this. He doesn't believe Europe is doing enough."

Johnson said he has talked to Trump about the issue, and responded to questions about whether he would find it problematic if Trump did, in fact, withhold money for purely political purposes.

"Is he asking a favor to get to the truth? As the head law enforcement officer? That's certainly one interpretation. By the way, you're only going to be able to interpret this," he said.

Sen. Tammy Baldwin, D-WI sent a statement on the issue: 

“President Trump solicited interference from Ukraine in our election.That's a serious abuse of power that puts our national security at risk and it is wrong for Congressional Republicans to ignore it and pretend there is nothing wrong. We should stand united and put our country first, sending a clear message to the President and the rest of the world that we will not tolerate foreign interference in American elections.”
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