- The Washington Times - Wednesday, November 6, 2019

Donald Trump Jr. on Wednesday tweeted out the identity of the man thought to be the whistleblower at the center of the impeachment inquiry implicating his father, challenging whistleblower laws that protect the anonymity of people who claim governmental wrongdoing.

The name of the alleged whistleblower has been circulating in Washington for weeks, including in the halls of Congress and on the House chamber floor.

The president’s son retweeted a Breitbart News article with the headline, “Alleged ‘Whistleblower’ […] Worked Closely with Anti-Trump Dossier Hoaxer.” The Breitbart article suggests the whistleblower interacted with key players who produced the anti-Trump Steele dossier.

He tweeted in connection to the story, “Of course he did!!!”

The Washington Times has not independently verified the whistleblower’s identity and is withholding the name of the individual.

The name of the person suspected to be the whistleblower was first published by Real Clear Investigations in a detailed article last week, disclosing the 33-year-old man is originally from Connecticut and is a registered Democrat.

The article says the man had ties to the Obama White House, specifically CIA Director John O. Brennan and President Obama’s National Security Adviser Susan Rice. He also worked for Vice President Joseph R. Biden on Ukraine and Russia matters from 2015-2016, according to the report.

The whistleblower’s attorney, Mark Zaid, would not confirm or deny the identity of his client.

“We are neither going to confirm nor deny any request that seeks to identify the name of the whistleblower. Any effort to publish a name, whether accurate or not, will place that individual’s health and safety, and that of their family, in potential jeopardy. Publication of any name is reckless and irresponsible and must be condemned,” Mr. Zaid told The Washington Times.

Senate Minority Leader Charles E. Schumer on Wednesday said whistleblowers “who stand up to the Constitution” should not be targeted by the president or members of the legislative branch.

“The White House and even a member of this chamber are openly advocating that federal whistleblower protections be violated, that laws be broken, and that the health and safety of the whistleblower and their family be put at risk,” the New York Democrat said in a Senate floor speech. “Shame. Shame. Just outrageous.”

The pushback comes after Sen. Rand Paul, Kentucky Republican, said this week that he might disclose the whistleblower’s name and urged the media to do so.

The Kentucky Republican insisted there is no law stopping him from outing the man who is accusing the president of wrongdoing in negotiations with the president of Ukraine.

Several Republicans, though, have objected to Mr. Paul disclosing the whistleblower’s name, including Sen. Charles E. Grassley of Iowa.

“A person like me that has advocated for whistleblowers for a long period of time, including this whistleblower, I want maximum protection for whistleblowers,” Mr. Grassley said.

Sen. John Thune of South Dakota, Sen. Rob Portman of Ohio and Sen. Mitt Romney of Utah all pushed back, too.

A whistleblower rights law firm, Kohn, Kohn & Colapinto, sent a letter Wednesday to Attorney General William Barr requesting a criminal probe into leaks of the whistleblower’s identity, saying there is a federal law preventing retaliation against a whistleblower.

“This felony would also qualify as a ‘high crime or misdemeanor’ under the U.S. Constitution,” the letter read.

California Sen. Dianne Feinstein, the top Democrat on the Senate Judiciary Committee, said outing the whistleblower would discourage government officials from making future complaints, which are critical for congressional oversight.

“Attempts by the president and congressional Republicans to publicly identify the whistleblower are inexcusable and must stop,” Ms. Feinstein said.

“Efforts to leak the name of the whistleblower in the Ukraine case are nothing more than an attempt to distract the public from a legitimate investigation of serious allegations made against the president. In fact, the whistleblower’s identity and testimony are irrelevant.”

The whistleblower’s complaint had been investigated by the inspector general after he came forward with information about Mr. Trump’s July 25 call with the Ukrainian president, charging that Mr. Trump withheld military aid in exchange for Ukrainian officials investigating his potential political rival, Mr. Biden and his son Hunter, who sat on the board of a Ukrainian energy company previously involved in a corruption probe.

The complaint is the basis for House Democrats’ formal impeachment proceedings, officially started by a near party-line vote last week, though the investigation started more than a month ago.

• David Sherfinski and Dave Boyer contributed to this report.

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