President Donald Trump once again ramped up his attacks on a still-unidentified intelligence community whistleblower by telling reporters that he and his allies are "trying to find out" the person's identity.
Some legal experts reacted with shock to the president's latest broadside against the whistleblower, who has accused the president of abusing his office to help his chances in the 2020 presidential election.
Andrew Bakaj, one of the attorneys representing the whistleblower, responded immediately to Trump's new attack and emphasized that "the Intel Community Whistleblower is entitled to anonymity," while also noting that trying to out their identity "is a violation of federal law."
IC WB UPDATE: The Intel Community Whistleblower is entitled to anonymity. Law and policy support this and the indiv… https://t.co/lMpk2hUkhh— Andrew P. Bakaj (@Andrew P. Bakaj)1569868912.0
Mark Zaid, another attorney representing the whistleblower, agreed with Bakaj and added, "The law is paramount, and there are no exceptions for anyone."
NEWS UPDATE: The law is paramount, and there are no exceptions for anyone. https://t.co/8PLVjCDFQb— Mark S. Zaid (@Mark S. Zaid)1569869398.0
Former federal prosecutor Renato Mariotti, meanwhile, said that the president was flat-out breaking the law by trying to unmask the whistleblower.
"Trump is trying to retaliate against a witness in plain sight," he wrote.
The whistleblower’s identity is protected by law. Trump is trying to retaliate against a witness in plain sight. https://t.co/xtxpK9rT8I— Renato Mariotti (@Renato Mariotti)1569869338.0
National security attorney Bradley Moss, meanwhile, accused Trump of "putting this person at risk" with his actions.
He is putting this person at risk. https://t.co/urqeW9O4t3— Bradley P. Moss (@Bradley P. Moss)1569869549.0
Evan McMullin, a former CIA officer and staunch Trump critic, similarly expressed fears that the whistleblower's physical safety could be in danger.
"I’m increasingly concerned about the whistleblower’s safety," he wrote. "He faces threats from an abusive president and from the extremist elements of his base. The House Intel Committee should seriously consider limiting the number of members who learn his identity even as he testifies."
I’m increasingly concerned about the whistleblower’s safety. He faces threats from an abusive president and from th… https://t.co/wY6rnsKR2z— Evan McMullin 🇺🇸 (@Evan McMullin 🇺🇸)1569869736.0
And political scientist Miranda Yaver responded to Trump's outburst by reiterating that "whistleblower retaliation is illegal" multiple times on her Twitter account.
Whistleblower retaliation is illegal. Whistleblower retaliation is illegal. Whistleblower retaliation is illegal. W… https://t.co/lBIqv351FW— Dr. Miranda Yaver (@Dr. Miranda Yaver)1569870210.0