Lawyers for the whistleblower who has alleged possible wrongdoing by President Trump in his July call with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky worked with a nonprofit group to establish a GoFundMe page seeking to raise an initial $100,000 for the whistleblower's legal defense, Fox News has learned.
John Tye, a onetime whistleblower who founded the nonprofit Whistleblower Aid, told Fox News he was working with the whistleblower's lawyers at the Compass Rose Legal Group as a matter of principle. Their fundraising page, which can be found at helpthewhistleblower.org, went live Wednesday evening.
“We hope that Americans will stand up to and stand with this whistleblower and show the government and the president are not above the law,” Tye said. “We are very proud to be supporting this whistleblower. It is a very stressful thing to be a whistleblower.”
In new comments to Fox News, the whistleblower's lawyers said they were focused on communicating all relevant information to Congress.
“Our objective is to ensure that full disclosure of the information is obtained by the relevant oversight authorities,” one of the whistleblower's lawyers, Mark Zaid, told Fox News. “In compliance with the law and to maintain the right of the whistleblower to remain anonymous.”
Another member of the whistleblower's legal team, Charles McCullough III – a former intelligence community inspector general himself who was drawn into the Hillary Clinton email investigation – said early communications with lawmakers have been promising.
“The focus is on the process," he said. “There is a law, and we are content that the process appears to be working – the focus is on the process.”
“I have been acting as counsel since the very beginning before the disclosure was made to ensure the law was followed by the client, the disclosure was lawfully made,” Andrew Bakaj, also an attorney for the whistleblower, told Fox News. “We have complied with the law through this entire process.”
The whistleblower – a member of the intelligence community – wanted to testify before Congress and was waiting on possible guidance from acting Director of National Intelligence Joseph Maguire, the lawyers said. Maguire is set to testify himself on Thursday.
"It is a very stressful thing to be a whistleblower.”
— John Tye, CEO of Whistleblower Aid
A bipartisan select group of intelligence committee lawmakers in the House and Senate, who have been demanding details of the whistleblower's complaint, gained access to the document in a classified setting late Wednesday ahead of Maguire's testimony.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., announced the beginning of an impeachment inquiry on Tuesday, citing the whistleblower complaint as possible evidence of Trump's “betrayal of his oath of office.”
Trump quickly pushed back forcefully. At a news conference in New York on Wednesday, the president dismissed the complaint from what he called the “so-called whistleblower,” and sought to turn the tables — accusing Biden of possible corruption and Democrats of overt hypocrisy.
The White House also released a transcript of Trump's July call with Zelensky, showing Trump sought a review of Biden family dealings in the country. The transcript did not suggest that Trump leveraged military aid to Ukraine to obtain a “promise” on a Biden investigation, as a widely cited report in The Washington Post had claimed.
Zelensky, speaking across from Trump in New York on Wednesday, told reporters he did not feel “pushed” at all in his conversations with the president.
And, the Justice Department – in a new letter from the Office of Legal Counsel obtained by Fox News – pushed back Wednesday on the claim that the whistleblower brought out something of “urgent concern” that would have to be turned over to Congress.
The letter said the intelligence community inspector general found “some indicia of an arguable political bias on the part of the complainant in favor of a rival political candidate,” but still said the allegations “appeared credible.” Fox News previously reported that, according to a source, the individual also did not have “firsthand knowledge” of Trump's call with Zelensky.
Sources, meanwhile, said the original allegations spoke to a possible campaign finance violation, but the DOJ concluded that Trump’s request for an investigation did not qualify as a “thing of value” for his campaign – and therefore did not constitute a criminal violation.
Fox News’ Alex Pappas and The Associated Press contributed to this report.