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Steve King shares photos falsely claiming Soros' son is White House whistleblower
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Steve King shares photos falsely claiming Soros' son is White House whistleblower

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WASHINGTON -- Iowa 4th District Rep. Steve King posted Thursday photos of the son of prominent Democratic Party donor George Soros, falsely claiming he's the White House whistleblower. 

In the morning, King directed a tweet at House Intelligence Committee Chairman Rep. Adam Schiff, D-Calif., who is leading an impeachment inquiry into charges that President Donald Trump pressured Ukraine to investigate the family of political rival Joe Biden in exchange for military aid. An unidentified whistleblower whose complaint about Trump's July phone call with Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelenskiy prompted the inquiry.

“Adam Schiff said, I do not know the identity of the whistleblower. @RepAdamSchiff here are four strong clues," King said in a tweet along with photos of Alexander Soros  posing with former Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer and 2020 Democratic presidential candidate Elizabeth Warren.

[What Steve King said in town halls across Northwest Iowa this year.]

A number of journalists and others quickly responded to King's post, pointing out that Soros could not possibly be the whistleblower because he does not work in the federal government or a U.S. intelligence agency.

"I don't have confirmation of who the whistleblower is but I doubt it's Alexander Soros. This member of Congress is putting a target on somebody without doing a basic Google check," tweeted Jonathan Swan, an Axios reporter. 

George Soros, a global billionaire businessman, is a frequent target of Republicans for his large donations to Democratic candidates and left-leaning organizations. 

Alexander Soros later took to Twitter to shoot down King's claim. "Pretty sad that a member of Congress @SteveKingIA promoted the crazy lie and conspiracy theory that I am the whistleblower. The whistleblower has to be a government employee."

Just before 1 p.m., King deleted his tweet and then posted a new one, with three new photos of a man he suggested is the whistleblower.

"Adam Schiff said, “I do not know the identity of the whistleblower.” Me either, but @RepAdamSchiff here’s a better clue," King tweeted. He did not name the man in the photos, but they appeared to resemble a CIA official that some individuals have publicly identified as the whistleblower.

Twitter has allowed the name and supposed photos of the purported whistleblower, while Facebook and Google have said they would remove such references. 

King's tweet came a day after the opening day of public impeachment hearings in the House. A top American diplomat in Ukraine revealed new evidence that Trump was overheard asking about political “investigations” that he later demanded from Ukraine in exchange for military aid.

Top Republicans on the committee have pressed Schiff to require the whistleblower to testify.

Iowa's two Republican senators, Chuck Grassley and Joni Ernst, have recently said the identity of the whistleblower should be kept confidential, in accordance with federal law designed to prevent retaliation.

Ernst said it is unfortunate the whistleblower "has been outed through other media and so forth," including by Donald Trump Jr., who retweeted a Breitbart News story that named a CIA officer as the person.

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During Wednesday's hearing, Rep. Jim Jordan, R-Ohio, said to Schiff, “Of the 435 members of Congress, you are the only member who knows who that individual is. And your staff is the only staff of any member of Congress that has had a chance to talk to that individual. We would like that opportunity."

The Associated Press reported the whistleblower contacted Schiff’s staff before filing the complaint with the inspector general’s office. Attorneys for the whistleblower said their client never met with Schiff.

King, a one-time House Judiciary Committee member, could have been among the Republican members questioning witnesses this week, but in January GOP leaders stripped him of all of his committee assignments in the wake of published comments he made to the New York Times that seemed to defend white supremacy and white nationalism. 

The outspoken conservative has defended Trump throughout the impeachment process. On Oct. 16, King tweeted, "Secret meetings in #WitchHunt to come up with an excuse to #Impeach @RealDonaldTrump. These Members demanded to enter to read the Volker Transcript & were blocked by order of Schiff who is manufacturing charges in secret."

Steve King Alton Town Hall

Iowa 4th District Rep. Steve King talks with Ruth Kocisko of Sioux Center after a town hall in Alton, Iowa on Saturday. King told town hall attendees that his three Republican challengers have every right to vie for his seat in 2020. 

That tweet included a photo of King with five Republican House members, one week before King was among two dozen conservatives who stormed into a closed-door deposition with a Defense Department official. King said he entered the hearing room to bear witness to “the greatest atrocity I’ve seen in the United States Congress in 17 years.”

Democrats denied Republicans were being treated unfairly, noting they had equal time to question witnesses and full access to the meetings.

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