In an unexpected move, Donald Trump Jr. revealed the President's whistleblower's name in a tweet. Yes, a tweet.
Ever since the original whistleblower came forward to air out United States President Donald Trump's dirty quid pro quo laundry for all of the world to see, he has been threatening to break convention and find out the whistleblower's name. As it turns out, his son Donald Trump Jr. was happy to do the messy work for him. In a post uploaded to social media platform Twitter, Trump Jr. shared a link to a Breitbart article that named the alleged whistleblower, immediately drawing criticism online, Forbes reports. The President's son has broken protocol with his careless actions and put the whistleblower in harm's way, something that their lawyers had warned the American people of long before the tweet was posted.
In response to Trump Jr.'s tweet, the whistleblower's lawyer Andrew Bakaj affirmed in a statement that he could neither confirm nor deny the individual's identity. He added that anyone who chose to share the alleged whistleblower's name would be similarly putting "that individual and their family at risk of serious harm." Bakaj did reiterate, however, that releasing the whistleblower's name does not release him from the impeachment inquiry. As the investigation speedily moves forward, President Trump will still need to "address the substantive allegations," many of which have pretty much been proven to be true.
Statement of November 6, 2019, Concerning the Suspected Identity of the Whistleblower pic.twitter.com/qMBRuLALI8— Andrew P. Bakaj (@AndrewBakaj) November 6, 2019
The lawyer also pointedly noted what Trump Jr.'s actions mean for American democracy as a whole. He claimed, "Disclosure of any name undermines the integrity of the whistleblower system and will deter any future whistleblowers." This, of course, is undoubtedly true. The Trumps have set an unexpected and unwarranted precedent when it comes to the fabric of the United States' democratic process; our checks and balances are the finely tuned cogs behind the mechanism of our democracy. If the whistleblower system fails, what does that mean for the rest of our checks on otherwise unbridled executive power?
Nonetheless, it must be noted that while federal law has some protections for whistleblowers, it does not prohibit the President or other officials from revealing their names. Therefore, Trump Jr. took to Twitter yet again following the criticism to condemn the outrage. He wrote, "Are they going to pretend that his name hasn’t been in the public domain for weeks now? Numerous people and news outlets including Real Clear Politics already [identified] him.” Though this is true, the dangers of a President becoming aware of a whistleblower's name and sending his motley crew out to crucify them is a different ball game altogether. In the past, Trump has suggested that the government execute the whistleblower’s sources as they did in the “old days." As major news outlets, including state-run Fox News, instruct their hosts and journalists to not identify the individual in question, it appears that the President has much, much lower standards to adhere to.