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An attorney for the whistleblower in the Trump-Ukraine scandal said Sunday that CBS’ “60 Minutes” had “completely misinterpreted” a document from his legal group, after the news outlet tweeted that the whistleblower was now under federal protection.
On Sunday night, CBS wrote on Twitter: “‘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 they fear for their safety.”
Two hours later, following significant reaction to the report, Attorney Mark Zaid responded: “NEWS ALERT: 60 Minutes completely misinterpreted contents of our letter, which is now published online.”
He added that no agreement has been reached with Congress on contact with the whistleblower, and discussions remain ongoing.
A spokesperson for CBS said in a statement: "60 Minutes stands by its sources and reporting on the whistle-blower."
The letter — sent Saturday from the Compass Rose Legal Group to the acting director of national intelligence, Joseph Maguire — addressed the whistleblower’s personal safety concerns. The attorneys wrote that they “appreciate your office’s support thus far to activate appropriate resources to ensure (the whistleblower’s) safety.”
The attorneys added that President Donald Trump had heightened these concerns by stating Thursday that he wanted to know who the whistleblower and their informant is, because “that’s close to a spy.”
Following reports that Trump had asked Ukraine to dig up damaging information on his political rival, former vice president Joe Biden, House Democrats launched an official impeachment inquiry. Trump and his allies stepped up their attacks over the weekend to discredit the whistleblower complaint and impeachment proceedings.
On Sunday, Trump demanded to meet the whistleblower, whose complaint helped bring impeachment closer to his doorstep.