- The Washington Times - Wednesday, November 6, 2019

Attorneys for the intelligence community whistleblower that triggered impeachment proceedings accused President Trump’s supporters Wednesday of acting dangerously out of desperation by trying to expose their client’s identity.

Lawyers for the unidentified whistleblower pushed back amid the president’s defenders – including his oldest son, among others – circulating the name of an individual they allege to have led Democrats to launch an impeachment inquiry last month.

“Identifying any suspected name for the whistleblower will place that individual and their family at risk of serious harm. We will not confirm or deny any name that is published or promoted by supporters of the President. Disclosure of any name undermines the integrity of the whistleblower system and will deter any future whistleblowers,” attorneys Andrew P. Bakaj and Mark S. Zaid said in a joint statement.

“We will note, however, that publication or promotion of a name shows the desperation to deflect from the substance of the whistleblower complaint. It will not relieve the President of the need to address the substantive allegations, all of which have been substantially proven to be true,” the attorney added.

Democrats in the House of Representatives initiated the impeachment inquiry in September after the Trump administration tried to prevent members of Congress from viewing a whistleblower complaint that had been filed the previous month with the intelligence community’s inspector general.

The White House later released a rough transcript of a July phone call that triggered the whistleblower complaint, and it indicated that Mr. Trump asked Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky during the conversation to investigate one of his political rivals, former vice president and 2020 Democratic presidential candidate Joseph R. Biden, as Kyiv awaited millions of dollars worth of U.S. military assistance.

Mr. Trump and has defenders have called in the weeks afterward for the whistleblower’s name to be made public. Donald Trump Jr., the president’s eldest son, posted Wednesday on Twitter the name of an individual identified by several outlets as being the alleged whistleblower, and the whistleblower’s attorneys issued their statement condemning those reports shortly afterward.

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