President Donald Trump arrives to speak at a campaign rally at the Target Center, Thursday, Oct. 10, 2019, in Minneapolis. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)
Debate is raging over whether or not the whistleblower, whose complaint about President Trump’s July 25th conversation with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky triggered an impeachment inquiry, is entitled to anonymity.
Democrats maintain that his identity should not be exposed because is he entitled to protection under the whistleblower statute.
In this case, I strongly disagree because this whistleblower is not a whistleblower. When an individual whose clear intention is to oust a sitting president tries to hide behind the whistleblower protection statute, it’s time to act.
Journalists and bloggers have been repeating his name, Eric Ciaramella (EC), for weeks. And last Thursday, Real Clear Investigations’ Paul Sperry revealed his identity to the world. The media is under no legal obligation to protect him.
Team Trump has been on defense forever against the never ending barrage of accusations from the left. On Saturday, I posted on EC’s background and extensive connections with those who brought us three years of the Trump/Russia collusion idiocy (which can be viewed here.) The release of DOJ Inspector General Michael Horowitz’ report on the FBI’s abuse of the FISA Court application process will mark the Republicans’ first substantive offensive against the deep state.
Rep. Adam Schiff (D-CA), who chairs the House Intelligence Committee, said, “I would hope that more of my GOP colleagues throughout the Congress on both sides of the Capitol would express their support for whistleblowers who have the courage to come forward and expose wrongdoing. They have the right to remain anonymous.”
The Wall Street Journal’s Dustin Volz published an article on Saturday in which he makes the case for anonymity. He writes, “The media reports name a specific individual but have lacked any direct confirmation to show they have definitively learned the whistleblower’s identity.”
I would argue that if media reports have identified the wrong individual, then his attorneys should immediately issue a denial.
Instead, they “decline” to issue either a confirmation or a denial, which keeps the speculation alive.
His lawyers issued a statement which said, “Our client is legally entitled to anonymity. Disclosure of the name of any person who may be suspected to be the whistleblower places that individual and their family in great physical danger.”
When the evidence strongly suggests that their client is in cahoots with a group of people who have repeatedly attempted to remove the President from office through a series of illegal/unethical acts, he is no longer a whistleblower. At that point, he becomes a member of the deep state who believes he can use the whistleblower protection statute as a tool to conceal his true intentions.
Again, I would say that if EC is not the individual who filed this complaint, then his legal team should issue a denial. If he is indeed the “whistleblower,” then his safety is his own concern. He should have thought about that before he decided to play with fire.
Then Volz tries shaming. He quotes a media ethicist, Tom Bivens, a professor of journalism ethics at the University of Oregon. According to Bivens, “Journalists who like to keep sources anonymous will go to jail over that. It seems to me that any journalist worth their salt would be willing to accept the anonymity of others bringing forward important information.”
Mr. Bivens, if only this were important information. We all know this is nothing more than one last desperate effort to destroy the President before the truth of the origination of the Russia hoax is exposed. The IG report is expected in the next week. And the Durham inquiry was recently upgraded to a criminal investigation following two trips by Attorney General William Barr and U.S. Attorney John Durham to Rome and to London.
Media ethicists said if journalists have confirmation of the name, they would have to weigh public interest in the whistleblower’s identity against the potential harm that could befall the individual, but added that the news value of his identity had diminished over time as more information about Mr. Trump’s dealings with Ukraine has come to light.
The attempts to unmask the whistleblower have continued as at least three other witnesses in the impeachment probe have told congressional investigators that they believed there was a quid pro quo linking Mr. Trump’s desire for investigations into his political rivals with either the withholding of security aid to Ukraine or the promise of a White House visit for Mr. Zelensky. The White House also released a rough transcript of the July call, which substantiated central aspects of the whistleblower’s complaint.
Democrats have argued that corroboration has decreased the need to have the whistleblower testify.
Volz accepts the selective leaks from the testimony of witnesses who have very significant policy differences with President Trump as corroboration of the whistleblower’s complaint. In the same way, there have been leaks from the testimonies of witnesses who agree with the President’s policies. Are we really going to impeach a President based on differing interpretations of an innocuous call? We could trot out all of the people who listened in on that call and we would hear as many unique understandings.
Finally, Volz writes:
His legal team has offered to the Senate and House intelligence committees written testimony in lieu of an in-person appearance before investigators, amid concerns that disclosing his identity to lawmakers could lead to it being publicly leaked.
If EC submitted the complaint, he must testify in person. Republicans must be allowed the opportunity to cross-examine and question him. If the complainant’s motive was to trigger an impeachment inquiry, and it sure looks like it was, this individual’s history, his political connections and agenda must be publicly reviewed. He must explain to 63 million Americans why he is trying to disenfranchise them.
Schiff and the other Democrats know that if Americans actually see EC in the flesh, learn his history, and hear him answer questions under oath, their case will collapse.
If impeaching a president were as simple as filing an anonymous complaint and hiding behind whistleblower status, the Democrats would have already tried this. It would have saved them the risks they’ve taken and the effort they’ve put into the Russian collusion hoax.
Last I checked, this was America.
President Trump is entitled to face his accuser.