Following in his son Donald Trump Jr.'s footsteps, the President shared his whistleblower's name, threatening the government official's safety.
Not long after United States President Donald Trump's son Donald Trump Jr. shared the infamous Ukraine whistleblower's name, the President himself has followed suit. You know what they say, right? Like son, like father. The President took to Twitter on yet another one of his ranty days in order to share an article that mentioned the whistleblower's name. The article was shared in the midst of several other posts, all equally egregious. Perhaps the most shocking part of this whole affair is that no major news publication is calling the President out for clearly breaking democratic protocol. After all, the country's protections for whistleblowers are one of the fundamental protections of its democracy as well.
While Trump seemed unfazed by the explicit violation, the rest of Twitter went into quite the frenzy, with several users condemning the President for his actions. However, no one was really surprised that he would break the United States' democratic protocol. Furthermore, in addition to naming the whistleblower, the article also incorrectly alleged that the whistleblower had “committed perjury by making false statements” and is being protected by Adam Schiff, chairman of the House intelligence committee. As with many assertions made by Trump and his administration, there is no evidence to support these claims either.
In response to his retweet, President Trump attracted quite a lot of attention. For instance, Amy Siskind, president of the New Agenda, a nonpartisan advocacy organization, asserted, “This is not acceptable behavior from the so-called leader of our country, and he must be called to task for it!” While several people agree that the President should face some form of legal consequence for revealing - or at least participating in the revelation of - the whistleblower's name, legal experts are yet to reach a conclusion about whether doing so is a crime. Robert Litt, the former general counsel for the office of the director of national intelligence, said in an interview with National Public Radio last month, “Anybody who is thinking about outing the whistleblower has to take into account the possibility that if something happens to the whistleblower, there would be some civil liability for causing that to happen. And while disclosing the identity of the whistleblower isn’t necessarily unlawful, creating a hostile work environment might be viewed as retaliation.” On the other hand, the Intelligence Community Whistleblower Protection Act of 1998 "forbids retaliation against an employee for blowing the whistle on perceived wrongdoing but does not prevent a president or member of Congress from identifying a whistleblower," The Guardian reports.
The revelation is especially deplorable as Trump has threatened the whistleblower and his lawyer's safety in the past. In early November this year, the President stated he wanted the whistleblower to be unmasked, ignoring several cease and desist warnings. He claimed that the whistleblower was "a disgrace" to the United States and should be "sued... for treason." Though his name has been public for a while now, the severity of a President violating whistleblower protections is the more serious matter at hand. Never before in American history has a whistleblower been threatened in this manner. Ultimately, his identity is immaterial - it is President Trump's glaring disregard for the country's laws that matters most.