Sen. Mark Warner on Monday called for Republicans to condemn President Trump’s attacks on the anonymous Ukraine phone-call whistleblower, saying it poses a safety concern.
“My hope would be that even my Republican colleagues who may not want to weigh in on the substance of the complaint need to stand up and push back on this president’s outrageous behavior,” the Virginia Democrat told CNN.
The whistleblower who accused Mr. Trump of pressuring Ukraine to investigate his political rival Joseph R. Biden, has been labeled a “traitor” by the president.
Mr. Trump also called the whistleblower a spy saying such actions were handled differently.
“You know what we used to do in the old days when we were smart with spies and treason, right? We used to handle it a little differently than we do now.”
It was reported Sunday that lawyers for the whistleblower wrote a letter to the chairmen and ranking members — including Mr. Warner — of the House and Senate Intelligence Committee expressing serious concerns for their client’s safety.
Mr. Warner is the vice-chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee.
The lawyers said several unnamed parties have offered a $50,000 bounty for information leading to the whistleblower’s identity.
“Any rational person would be concerned about the whistleblower’s safety after the president’s comments, which lead from some press outlets on the right who were actually offering a bounty on trying to reveal the whistleblower’s identity,” he said.
But Mr. Warner declined to say if Mr. Trump’s comments amounted to witness tampering.
“I’m going to stick with the most obvious,” he said. “The most obvious is that this is an attempt to undermine the protections of the whistleblower program. I believe this falls into the category of reprisal and it needs to stop.”
Mr. Warner repeated his calls for Republicans to condemn the president’s language.
“I would hope colleagues on both sides of the aisle will speak out in a unified voice because of the chilling effect it will have, not only on this individual…. but the overall effect on people in the intelligence community speaking truth to power,” he continued. “That would be a scar for a long time to come.”