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Photos do not show whistleblower with Warren, Pelosi and others

November 14, 2019 GMT

CLAIM: A young man pictured in photos with former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, Democratic Sen. Charles Schumer, Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Elizabeth Warren, and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi is the whistleblower.

AP’S ASSESSMENT: False. The man in the photos is Alex Soros, the son of billionaire philanthropist George Soros. 

THE FACTS: Posts claiming to show the whistleblower who filed the initial complaint about a July 25 phone call between President Donald Trump and Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelensky spread widely on Facebook and Twitter as public impeachment hearings began Wednesday. 

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Rep. Steve King of Iowa amplified the false claim Thursday, tweeting the photos with “Adam Schiff said, “I do not know the identity of the whistleblower.” @RepAdamSchiff here are four strong clues.” King’s tweet, which had received more than a thousand likes, was taken down Thursday afternoon. He did not respond to a request for comment.

The photos were taken from Alex Soros’ Instagram and Twitter accounts. Alex and his father have been the target of conservative attacks for their ties to the Democratic party and liberal causes. George Soros, who has been denounced by Trump, is often linked to right-wing conspiracy theories. 

Alex Soros serves as deputy chairman of the Open Society Foundations, a philanthropic  organization founded by his father.

“Rep. King is circulating false information,” the Open Society Foundations said in a statement Thursday. “He is not the whistleblower, and any attempt to identify the whistleblower is a violation of protections put in place to help people in government root out waste, fraud and abuse.” 

William Taylor, the charge d’affaires in Kyiv, and Deputy Assistant Secretary of State George Kent, testified during the impeachment hearing Wednesday about Trump’s involvement with Ukraine and the July 25 call.

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This is part of The Associated Press’ ongoing effort to fact-check misinformation that is shared widely online, including work with Facebook to identify and reduce the circulation of false stories on the platform.

Here’s more information on Facebook’s fact-checking program: https://www.facebook.com/help/1952307158131536