Whistleblower Attorneys to GOP: Lay Off Our Client

Andrew Bakaj and Mark Zaid make their case in the 'Washington Post'
By Neal Colgrass,  Newser Staff
Posted Oct 26, 2019 5:50 PM CDT
Whistleblower Attorneys to GOP: Lay Off Our Client
President Donald Trump stands during a Presidential Medal of Freedom ceremony for auto racing great Roger Penske in the Oval Office of the White House, Thursday, Oct. 24, 2019, in Washington.   (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)

The Ukraine whistleblower's identity will remain under wraps, as long as his—or her—attorneys have a say in it. "Speculation about the whistleblower's identity has only increased," Andrew Bakaj and Mark Zaid write in the Washington Post. "As each allegation in the complaint is substantiated by new witnesses, the president and his supporters remain fanatically devoted to bringing our client into the spotlight. But the reality is that the identity of the whistleblower is irrelevant." With the whistleblower complaint supported by congressional testimony, a former official's text messages, and President Trump's now-infamous phone call, the attorneys say there's no reason to identify their client.

"Where is the whistleblower?" asks Trump. But his equation of whistleblowers with spies—and wistfulness over past spies being executed—could put the whistleblower's family at risk, the attorneys say. It might also "undermine an already frail system meant to protect honorable whistleblowers." Having represented whistleblowers before, including CIA whistleblowers in the Benghazi probe, Bakaj and Zaid say they "intimately understand" the need to protect them. Lawmakers in particular, they argue, should "address the substantive facts instead of engaging in a spiteful campaign" to expose someone "who used a lawful process put in place by Congress itself to enable oversight of the executive branch." (Zaid has also denied an accusation about the whistleblower.)

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