Experts were stunned after Donald Trump attorney Alina Habba urged the Department of Justice to reveal the name of the witness who reportedly tipped off the FBI about the classified documents which were still at Mar-a-Lago when a search warrant was executed last week.
"The president's position, the same as what I would advise him, is to ask them to uncover everything so that we can see what is going on," Habba said on Newsmax. "I understand the witness protection issue, but at the same time, these witnesses are truly not going to be concealed for very long."
"It's in the best interest so that the country can get comfortable to see what the basis was, especially from someone who was cooperating," she claimed.
Habba's website says she is licensed to practice law in New York, New Jersey, Connecticut, the United States District Court for the District of New Jersey, the United States District Court for the District of Connecticut, and the United States District Court for the Districts of the Southern and Eastern Districts of New York. She is the former president's attorney in the case Trump vs. Mary Trump, The New York Times Company, et al.
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Legal experts were stunned by her comments.
"Trump hasn't been charged yet," noted former U.S. Attorney Joyce Vance. "The only possible reason to try and get witness identities is so they can be pressured or perhaps retaliated against. This is one of DOJ's key arguments for keeping the affidavit that accompanied the search warrant application confidential."
Conservative attorney George Conway, the husband of Kellyanne Conway, tweeted, "That's. Not. How. This. Works."
Attorney Jeff Yarbro, who is also a Democrat representing Nashville in the Tennessee legislature, wrote, "Oh, I’m sorry. I forgot. You were sick the day they taught law at law school."
Former federal prosecutor Renato Mariotti said, "It is apparent that Trump’s attorney has no experience handling complex federal criminal matters. It’s not clear if there is a competent criminal defense attorney quarterbacking this case on Trump’s behalf."
Attorney Luppe B. Luppen, who tweets under the popular @nycsouthpaw account, tweeted, "DOJ should affirmatively betray its witnesses and allow Trumpworld to begin violently threatening them, the former president’s lawyer argues, because there are always leaks."
"Alina Habba is spewing pure nonsense," wrote former federal prosecutor Mitchell Epner. "Confidential witnesses are never identified at the pre-indictment stage. Grand jury secrecy really does protect the 'CW' or 'CC'. In 25 years of working as in criminal litigation (3 as an AUSA, 22 on the defense side), I know of only one leak."
"Well, how else are they gonna tamper with the witnesses if they don’t know their names?" asked former Ted Cruz speechwriter Amanda Carpenter.
Economist David Rothschild wrote, "Accused criminal who led failed violent insurrection, stole stash of state secrets, and regularly directs his supports to commit acts of terror: wants to know names of rats who squealed on him so he publicly called for a hit."
Attorney Teri Kanefield wrote, "Of course, this is what Trump wants (and it's probably driving him crazy that people are talking to the DOJ about him and he doesn't know who they are). The reasons Trump wants to know are exactly the reasons he shouldn't know."
Georgetown Prof. Don Moynihan wrote, "This is a consistent pattern from the first impeachment process: out the whistleblower to expose them and future co-operating witnesses to threats rather than deal with the substance of Trump’s actions."
Podcaster David Waldman wrote, "You wanna plead the Fifth Amendment? While you’re at it, read the Sixth. You’ll get to confront the witnesses against you. At trial."
Conservative Bulwark editor Jim Swift said, "This does sound like some parking lot mafioso logic."
Journalist Andrew Feinberg wrote, "The reason he wants the names (which he’s not entitled to unless/until he’s indicted, and even then under a protective order barring disclosure to unauthorized parties) is so he can direct his followers to deluge them with death threats and other forms of harassment/intimidation."