Trump reached new levels of recklessness tonight in re-tweeting a message which purportedly outed the identity of the whistleblower. He had even been cautioned against doing so by his daughter Ivanka and White House Counsel Pat Cipollone. Yet, tonight he went ahead and did it by retweet. I have known the name of the alleged person for some time, and will continue my practice of protecting his identity and will not be posting the tweet. But the description of what happened is here, by The Daily Beast: Trump’s personal Twitter account, @realDonaldTrump, retweeted a post by the re-election campaign’s official “war room” account that was aimed at the whistleblower’s attorney Mark Zaid. “It’s pretty simple. The CIA ‘whistleblower’ is not a real whistleblower!” reads the tweet, which links to a Washington Examiner item.That piece, published Dec. 3, includes the alleged whistleblower’s name in the headline. Okay, so the actual “outing” occurs through a retweet of an original which attaches an article with the name in the headline, no need to even read the article. For my money, that is quite sufficient. Trump outed the whistleblower, as we always knew he would. This is reprehensible conduct, knowingly dangerous, and meant for one purpose alone, to punish the person. After all, under Trump’s own theory of the impeachment case, the whistleblower’s identity couldn’t be less important: “Read the transcript!” Remember? So why does anyone care about the whistleblower’s identity? Never mind the fact that many brave people stood up in front of Congress and affirmed every fact alleged. It is quite simply to punish the person, and dissuade anyone from considering doing something similar in the future, period. It is reprehensible, but is it illegal? The question is trickier than one might imagine. The law itself only prevents the I.G. and his staff from divulging the name. However, in 2012, President Obama issued a directive that required the intelligence agencies to protect the whistleblower from work-related retaliation, including nixing promotions, termination, poor performance evaluations and a change in duties. In revealing the name, Trump will have done none of the above. However, the story doesn’t end there: According to CNN Robert Litt, former general counsel for the Office of the Director of National Intelligence under Obama, argues it could be considered retaliatory if the individual disclosing the name is also a member of the intelligence community. Noting that there is liability for intelligence community employees who retaliate against an intelligence whistleblower,” Litt said, “revealing the name could lead to a claim that you’ve created a hostile work environment and that is a form of retaliation. I would dearly love to argue in a court of law that Trump revealed the name solely to create a hostile work environment, and as retaliation for crossing Trump. Moreover, as we said above, Trump’s entire point in wanting the name out is to both punish and prevent future people from coming forward. His motives are in direct contradiction to the stated purpose of the Whistleblower statutes, which exist to encourage people to come forward and report lawbreaking. I suppose we always knew this would happen eventually. Trump will get his pound of flesh. No deed against him – no matter how legal and proper – will go unpunished. In my mind, this is simply another impeachable […]
Sometimes people in Washington get it plain wrong!
If conservatives support police killing citizens without justification, climate denial, fact denial, science denial, racist and misogynistic behavior, or a litany of other absurd points of view about numerous important issues, we call them out.