Trump “Trying To Find Out” Identity Of Whistleblower Despite Federal Law

In a continuing failure to respect the spirit and letter of the whistle-blower law, President Donald Trump said on Monday that he was “trying to find out” the identity of the whistle-blower who accused him of using military aid to pressure a foreign government to investigate his political rival. Once again, there is no need for such a highly inappropriate effort. This is part of an impeachment inquiry, and the witness is likely to appear before Congress. However, the whistle-blower law — and good policy — protects the identity of such staff members. Trump previously had compared the whistle-blower to a spy — an accusation that was clearly threatening and improper.

Once again, this is only magnifying the impeachment risk for Trump. It is also wrong both legally and ethically. One may disagree with the whistle-blower, and one can investigate any political bias as part of the impeachment process. However, even Trump’s Director of National Intelligence said that the staffer did the right thing in filing the complaint. He also said that his identity is protected.

The Whistleblower Protection Act of 1989 was created to protect federal workers from precisely this type of harassment or threat. 5 U.S.C. § 2302 (b)(8)-(9)  prohibits “a personnel action” against an employee who makes “any disclosure of information” which the employee “reasonably believes” to show “any violation of any law, rule, or regulation.” That includes a prohibition of any form of retaliation for the “the exercise of any appeal, complaint, or grievance right granted by any law, rule, or regulation,” including “cooperating with or disclosing information to the Inspector General.”

As with the Special Counsel investigation, Trump is magnifying the risks and prolonging the process with these statements and actions. It is possible to counterpunch yourself into an impeachment and even into removal from office if you try hard enough.

170 thoughts on “Trump “Trying To Find Out” Identity Of Whistleblower Despite Federal Law”

  1. from today’s WaPo:

    Released State Dept texts confirm quid pro quo presented to Ukranians.

    “heard from White House — assuming President Z convinces trump he will investigate / ‘get to the bottom of what happened’ in 2016, we will nail down date for visit to Washington,” Volker texted Zelensky’s aide, Andrey Yermak, on July 25, hours before Trump and the Ukrainian president spoke via phone. The rough transcript of that conversation was released by the White House last week……”

  2. CNN today:

    Republican senators echoed Biden in urging Ukrainian president to reform prosecutor general’s office
    By Andrew Kaczynski and Em Steck, CNN

    (CNN) — A newly unearthed letter from 2016 shows that Republican senators pushed for reforms to Ukraine’s prosecutor general’s office and judiciary, echoing calls then-Vice President Joe Biden made at the time.
    CNN’s KFile found a February 2016 bipartisan letter signed by several Republican senators that urged then-Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko to “press ahead with urgent reforms to the Prosecutor General’s office and judiciary.”

    The letter shows that addressing corruption in Ukraine’s Prosecutor General’s office had bipartisan support in the US and further undercuts a baseless attack made by President Donald Trump and his allies that Biden pressured the Ukrainian government to fire then Prosecutor General Viktor Shokin to stop investigations into a Ukrainian natural gas company that his son, Hunter Biden, sat on the board of. There is no evidence of wrongdoing by either Joe or Hunter Biden, nor is it clear whether Hunter was under investigation at all

    1. Actually it doesn’t. Biden could still had a hidden motive. There are documents, photos and interviews of former and current Ukrainian Officials suggesting that maybe Biden had an ulterior motive. The State Department IG showed both Democrats and Republicans but Democrats just dismissed it.

      1. Franklin, since what Biden did in the Ukraine as VP was with bipartisan support in the US Senate, the full support of the Obama administration, and the support of the IMF, EU, the UK, France, etc. with the purpose of protecting requested aid from rampant corruption, your suggestion that “maybe Biden had an ulterior motive” – impress the buxom receptionist at the Kiev embassy? – is irrelevant. You think any of these players GAFF about Hunters $50k a month? Come back with proof as clear as the WH memo on Trump’s call with Zelensky or the SD released texts – see above – and we can talk.

        1. What Biden did in the Ukraine was tell the Ukrainians to clean up their corruption. While at the same time Biden’s own son is participating in the corruption by accepting a position that paid him a LOT of money, for what, exactly?? You ask, “do you think any of these players GAFF about Hunter’s $50k a month? That’s the point!! These players don’t GAFF when the Vice President of the Untied States is telling these guys in Ukraine to “clean up the corruption” when they call all seee, plain as day, that the VPs own son is taking part in the corruption!!! So they laugh at Biden and the US b/c they see exactly who and what they are dealing with. It’s a huge scandal. The press refuses to call it what it is.

          1. Where’s the beef. Link Joe to something or shut up.. The Ukrainians did not laugh at losing $1 billion and fired the corrupt prosecutor Shokin who was doing nothing and specifically named by our ambassador in a public speech as blowing a case developed in the UK. You think our State Dept GAFF about Hunters monthly payment?

            You do know that businesses pay people with the right name to be associated with them right? There could something else going on, but you need to prove it.

            1. Where’s the beef. Link Joe to something or shut up.

              That’s rich coming from the guilty until proven innocent crowd. At the moment there are allegations with some but not all of the evidence to prove what really happened. I’m certain once all the evidence is in that we will finally have the whole truth with facts to support it. Then comes the greatest challenge for us moving forward: Accept or deny the truth. That will be the real test.

              1. Olly, you’re deaf dumb and blind, including hearing Trump who admits it all. Read my link above on the State Dept texts. They freely discuss bargaining a a WH meeting and military assistance for Zelensky in return for the Ukraine announcing an investigation. They discuss the Ukrainian’s hesitation until the US announces both and their fear to be left hanging to the advantage of the Russians.

                1. you’re deaf dumb and blind, including hearing Trump who admits it all.

                  That would be quite the trick, for being deaf.

                  Anyway, my senses might be challenged, but my critical-thinking skills are not. You on the other hand are entirely dependent on others doing your thinking for you. How do I know? You began believing a theory regarding Trump which has been soundly debunked time after time. And instead of rationally concluding your masters may be lying to you, you ignorantly follow the laser pointer to the next allegation, and the next and the next. Damn!

                  It’s apparent you’re in a panic and knowing where all this is headed, you should be. Well, that is if your emotional well-being is inextricably tied to someone else’s narrative. We’ll have the IG report, we’ll have the Durham report. There will be actual evidence that proves what is true and false. You’ll have an opportunity to get out of your intellectual bondage; whether you take it, is entirely up to you.

                  1. Olly, Trump has admitted it all, the WH memo on the call confirms it, and the State Dept texts confirms it in spades. That’s evidence, not “masters”. I want to hear you explain how that evidence does not confirm what Trump admits.

                    By the way, loyal Trumpster Sen Johnson of Wisconsin said yesterday that Trump’s EU ambassador told him during the summer that Trump was holding up military assistance to the Ukraine as a chip to get them to investigate.

                    https://www.nbcnews.com/politics/trump-impeachment-inquiry/gop-senator-says-diplomat-told-him-trump-was-withholding-aid-n1062706

            2. Anon1 said: “There could be something else going on, but you need to prove it.”

              You know whose job it is to do that? The watchdog press. But pay attention to the reporters and what they report. What’s being asked of Joe Biden? How about Hunter? Anyone camped out trying to get an interview with Hunter?? Nope.

              Anon1 said: “Where’s the beef. Link Joe to something or shut up.”

              You know who else’s job it is? The Justice Dept. Where’s the investigation into Biden’s dealings that cleared him and his family members of any wrongdoing? I haven’t seen it. In your words, “link to something or shut up.”

              The media is undoubtedly protecting Joe Biden and the Democrats. The media is actually helping the Democrats make their case against Trump. They refuse to investigate or report on Biden’s blatant corruption.

                1. Nothing? Right. Just the usual influence selling going on. Hunter Biden flying around on Air Force 2 with his dad, the VP of the US, and making deals with foreign banks and foreign countries? Nothing to see there? Business as usual for our politicians. That’s the point — this Biden family self-dealing exposes how corrupt it all is in Washington DC. Hello???

                2. Why are you trying so hard to defend Joe Biden’s blanant corruption? Shouldn’t we all be against political corruption no matter who it is??

            3. Anon1 – according to Guiliani, if Shokin is corrupt, he isn’t very good at it. He lives in a small cottage some place and appears poor. You keep saying like it was a fact, just like Trump was colluding with Russia was a fact. Get a grip. People lie. That includes the IMF and the British.

            4. What Biden did, and has done for decades, is leverage his office to enrich his family. He sold his office for personal gain thru his family. Did he know about it? Of course he did.

              Hunter Biden ramped it up to ‘Clintonesque’ levels when his dad became VP. And just like the Clintons do, the Bidens now go around saying “we did nothing wrong” ….and they can get away with it because the complicit liberal press dutifully parrots that talking point on their behalf. Nothing to see. BUT! Look over there at Trump! It’s predictable.

              Let’s just say, that with Joe Biden’s history of plagiarism, sniffing girls hair, lies and blatant corruption, there is no way he could ever be elevated to the office of the presidency. Dems know it. Sorry, but Joe Biden is done.

              1. Anon1 asked: “Where’s the beef?”

                I’m asking Anon1: Where’s the fork?

                (to stick in Joe Biden, because he’s done. get it??)

  3. Jason Chaffetz: Trump’s transparency is driving the left nuts (and messing up their impeachment dreams)

    He wasn’t supposed to release the transcripts. Or the whistleblower report. He was expected to do what any president would have done – what President Obama always did. Hide the evidence.

    As House Democrats rolled out their latest meticulously choreographed, perfectly timed, and broadly coordinated attack on President Trump, they weren’t counting on the president’s unprecedented transparency. Nobody releases a transcript of calls between heads of state. But Donald Trump did.

    In the process, he screwed up the narrative. Again.

    As scripted, the president was intended to (rightly) claim executive privilege and withhold the written notes of his July 25 conversation with Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelensky. That would allow House Democrats to ramp up speculation about what the president was hiding.

    If that sounds familiar, it should. It’s the opening move in the same script deployed against Justice Kavanaugh. Democrats would ask for documents they knew were privileged, then Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer would send out a tweet asking, “What is he hiding?” when the documents weren’t produced.

    We saw it again with the Mueller investigation. For example, when Intelligence Committee Democrats wanted to release a memo critical of the president – one which happened to include sensitive national security information – the president had to delay while the memo was redacted.

    Schumer’s response? A tweet. “Millions of Americans are asking one simple question: what is he hiding?” Nothing, apparently. The president soon cleared the memo for release.

    Donald Trump should be winning awards for his openness and transparency. We’ve never seen anything like it before. And it’s messing with the Democrats’ narrative.

    Having been on the House Oversight Committee during the duration of the Obama presidency, I can attest that the administration fought every document request every time, releasing only the bare minimum. No excuse was too thin to withhold documents or testimony.

    In contrast, President Trump did the unthinkable: he actually waived both executive privilege and attorney-client privilege for the Mueller investigation. What other president would allow his general counsel to be interviewed for more than 30 hours?

    Donald Trump does. He should be winning awards for his openness and transparency. We’ve never seen anything like it before. And it’s messing with the Democrats’ narrative.

    This time, once again, the script hasn’t gone according to plan. Before Schumer could type his 140 characters to ask what the president was hiding in the Ukraine whistleblower complaint, the transcript and the memo were declassified for all to read.

    We know what comes next. There will be more whistleblowers with more claims that cannot be definitively verified. They will all be afraid to come out in the open for fear of their lives, or fear of flying, or fear of retaliation. Until the Democrats need to use them and forget them, as they did to Ford’s still-unverified allegations and to Schiff’s now-debunked memo.

    Americans are not fooled. By now most of us have heard the message loud and clear. Rep. Al Green told us exactly what it was about when he told MSNBC in May, “I’m concerned that if we don’t impeach this president, he will get re-elected.”

    Pelosi reiterated that message during her September 24, 2019 announcement of the impeachment inquiry. Finally acquiescing to the demands of her hyperventilating resistance movement, she explained why impeachment of Trump must proceed: “What’s more serious is that he can’t win. That is very serious to our country.”

    In 2016, Americans voted for a disruptive, unconventional president who would do things differently than they had ever been done before. That’s exactly what they got. And it’s driving the left nuts.

  4. Just listened to NPR and they are breathlessly defending the cocaine addict, military dishonorably discharged, white privileged, talentless Yale law school grad Hunter Biden. Their fawning was just like that provided for Bill Clinton and his innumerable scandals

    Facts dont matter to Democrats. They lie 24/7

    1. The Left only have one recording to play when it comes to characterizing their heroes foibles: deny, attack, make up lies

  5. Wistleblower-gate is unraveling.

    The “Schiff Dossier”, aka “whistle-blower” complaint was a constructed effort of allied members within congress and the intelligence apparatus to renew the impeachment effort. The intelligence team, including the ICIG, changed the whistleblower form to allow the CIA to insert the Schiff Dossier, written by Lawfare.

    https://theconservativetreehouse.com/2019/09/30/icig-michael-atkinson-attempts-four-page-justification-for-changing-urgent-concern-whistle-blower-guidelines/

    1. Facts don’t matter to you Trumpsters, do they? The whistleblower (or a surrogate) first went to the attorney for the CIA, who took the information to the WH counsel and DOJ. When they tried to bury the complaint, the WB (or a surrogate) contacted the STAFF of the House Intelligence Committee and gave a general outline of the nature of matters of concern. The Republican head of the Senate Intelligence Committee has stated that this is normal procedure. Staff gave the standard advice: get an attorney and go to the Inspector General, which s/he did. Schiff was told generally about this contact. No one on the House Committee ever saw the complaint before it was filed, and still has never met, nor do they know the identity of, the whistleblower.

      Trump flat out lied when he accused Schiff of writing the complaint, knowing the whistleblower or even having the details of the complaint before it was filed…BUT White House counsel and Barr’s office did have it before it was filed and did try to bury it. Now they’re trying to intimidate the whistleblower. Trump has already accused the whistleblower of being partisan and lying, but the summary of the telephone call proves s/he is telling the truth, AND s/he didn’t have the documentation.

      1. “Facts don’t matter to you Trumpsters, do they? The whistleblower (or a surrogate) first went to the attorney for the CIA,”

        It is starting to look like Schiff and the Whistleblower colluded in some fashion and Schiff may have mistated when he learned of the Whistleblower.

        Facts matter so I look for the proof before convicting the guy. That is something you never do.

        1. Partisan means that facts don’t matter only the Affiliations and Allegiances, which in the case of our congress is with the Democrats and Republicans, which means it isn’t surprising, or unexpected, that the partisan divides, and Allegiance to Party, are more important than facts, or the merits of any arguments. By the way, Bipartisanship does not remove these conflicts of interest related to Party Affiliation!

          1. One can’t interpret what is in your mind which is made even more unappealing to discuss since you don’t seem to offer real world solutions.

        2. Allan: what proof do you have? A witness, a document, anything beside Trump’s increasingly-unhinged outbursts and rants on Fox News? You want to talk about wrongdoing? Why did the counsel for the CIA go to the WH and Barr instead of to the House Intelligence Committee like the whistleblower law requires? Former CIA Director Brennan made clear that this is NOT protocol, especially when the subject of the complaint is the POTUS. Why did Barr and the CIA counsel try to bury the complaint, which is what the whistleblower told Schiff’s STAFF, and which is why s/he contacted them in the first place? That’s because they are Team Trump players, instead of Team USA players, contrary to the oath they took to protect and defend the Constitution. That’s because they know that what Trump did is enough for impeachment, and so they removed evidence of this call from the index of records and moved it to the secure server. THESE ARE FACTS.

          This “it is starting to look like” crap comes straight from Fox News. Who cares when Schiff “learned of the whistleblower”? He: 1. didn’t meet with him or her; 2. still doesn’t know his/her identity; 3. didn’t see the actual complaint before it was handed to the House Intelligence Committee in the normal course of business; and 4. according to Schiff’s Republican counterpart on the Senate Intelligence Committee, it is not at all unusual for a whistleblower to contact the STAFF of the committee that will be handling the complaint.

          1. “Allan: what proof do you have?”

            Firstly some of the stuff you wrote at the beginning is erroneous. I stopped reading afterwards. The proof is in the NYTimes releasing the information likely from Schiff to get ahead of the news.

  6. Determining the whistleblowers identity does not violate his protected rights. However, given that Nadler/Schiff said that they are conducting an impeachment proceeding, not impeachment inquiry, and the courts ruled that placed it in the judiciary proceeding. This gives the committee expanded rights such as access to grand jury material. Under those conditions Trump’s 6th Amendment rights come into play, including knowing the identity of the whistleblower and cross examination. That does not constitute retaliation or a violation of the whistleblowers rights.

    1. The whistleblower law with its protections are in place to prevent the virtually certain retaliation that would result in a case like this one. Without the protection of anonymity, no one would ever come forward, especially when the subject of the complaint is the POTUS. There would be little to nothing to curb rampant corruption like we have with Trump.

      Impeachment proceedings are NOT criminal proceedings, so the right of confrontation does not attach. In this case it wouldn’t matter because the facts are not in dispute.

      The only reason Trump wants to know his/her identity is to trash and intimidate him/her. Again, the facts are not in dispute.

  7. respectfully disagree with Prof. Turley on this one. We are not talking about protections that attach to procedure or process; -we are talking about fundamental rights that attach if whistleblower alleges that crimes were committed. , even if the forum/process is impeachment, I argue that his identity is necessary to prepare substantive defense.

    1. So big story breaks….. turns out whistleblower contacted Schiff who refered him to a lawyer. before the report was filed. maybe wrote the memo for him, huh? DEMOCRATS PLOT COUP WITH CIA DISSENTERS!

      Time to purge the CIA of saboteurs, malingerers, and plotters! Fire them, lock them up, or whatever other means are necessary to secure the national interests.

      1. You are not telling the truth : the whistleblower (or a surrogate) contacted STAFF of the House Intelligence Committee, which the Republican head of the Senate Intelligence Committee said is normal procedure. S/he was told the procedure for contacting the Inspector General.The specifics of the complaint and identity of the whistleblower were not disclosed. This was AFTER the WH counsel tried to bury the complaint. No one on the House Intelligence Committee was shown the complaint until it was formally presented by the IG. Schiff was told generally that a contact had been made and the general tenor of the complaint, plus the concern that the WH and AG were trying to bury the information.

      2. Kurtz, you’re too smart to be chasing laser spots on the floor. Schiff and the WB are irrelevant to the facts of the complaint, which are largely confirmed and do not rely on either of their trustworthiness. Unless you are a knowing part of Trump’s campaign to shift the focus from those facts, you are being made a fool of.

        1. Anon’s consumption of the news is so far to the left that he cannot figure out what is really happening and thus his viewpoints are totally off base. The sad thing is that Anon doesn’t want to know anything that doesn’t promote a world view he has been fed and now believes.

        2. the identify of the WB is the most important thing to learn precisely because you fear the truth being discovered.
          State it a billion more times but it wont help

        3. Of course the basic facts in the complaint have been confirmed by the WH and by Trump, including today on the WH lawn. Who the WB is couldn’t be less important and more irrelevant, though it is amusing watching the Trumpsters chase the red dots.

  8. It is only a matter of time as to when his identity will be learned. Then all else will collapse just like Steele Dossier and Hillary financing it.

    “The Complaint Origins Are Suspicious”

    “As far as we know, the whistleblower complaint contains no direct, firsthand information, which until last month was a requirement for a complaint to be considered credible. My colleague Sean Davis first reported that the intelligence community quietly gutted that requirement at some point between May 2018 and August 2019.

    Then on Monday, the intelligence community inspector general (ICIG) released a statement that confirmed Davis’ reporting, and admitted that its complaint form and policies regarding evidentiary requirements had been altered in response to the anti-Trump complaint filed in August. In addition, the ICIG statement revealed the whistleblower had used the old complaint form, which explicitly stated that firsthand knowledge was required in order for a complaint to be considered credible.

    This is important because the federal statue governing whistleblower complaints in the intelligence community gives the ICIG broad authority to determine whether a complaint is credible, as well as authority to determine what kind of evidence is required to meet that threshold. The ICIG has 14 days after receiving a complaint to determine whether it’s credible, and if so the complaint is passed along to the director of national intelligence (DNI).

    In order for the complaint to be considered an “urgent concern,” and be passed along to Congress, it has to meet three criteria: it must be found credible, it must be related to an intelligence activity, and the complaint must be against an employee or contractor of the intelligence community.

    In this case, the DNI and the Department of Justice Office of Legal Counsel found the complaint was not an “urgent concern” as defined by federal statute (because the complaint wasn’t related to an intelligence activity and because the president is not an employee of the intelligence community) and therefore need not be shared with relevant congressional committees. The ICIG ignored that determination and notified Congress even though the complaint didn’t meet the statutory definition of an “urgent concern.”

    The ICIG’s statement notably doesn’t say when the complaint form was changed to reflect new evidentiary standards that allow complaints with only secondhand information to be deemed credible. As Davis notes, knowing this timeline “is essential to determining whether the ICIG changed its own policies and procedures to justify forwarding to Congress a complaint that under the previous standard may not have been deemed credible.”

    As it is, the fact that ICIG developed new forms that don’t require firsthand information suggests that it was done as an after-the-fact justification of how the anti-Trump whistleblower’s complaint was handled.

    Meanwhile, the mainstream media have been trying to distract attention from the questions surrounding these revelations by pretending either that such details don’t matter or that anyone raising questions about them is doing so in bad faith. The Daily Beast ran an article this week dismissing Davis’ reporting as a “hoax story,” even while admitting that the form was indeed changed and that the new form does indeed alter the type of evidence needed for the ICIG to judge a complaint credible.”

    https://thefederalist.com/2019/10/02/americans-have-every-reason-to-be-suspicious-of-the-whistleblower-complaint/

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