‘I didn’t even realize this is some sort of big secret!’ Don Jr. defends outing whistleblower
Donald Trump Jr. defended his decision to tweet the name of the now-famous Ukraine whistle-blower on Thursday, telling the hosts of ‘The View’ that he thought it was already becoming a household name.
‘I didn’t even realize that this thing is some sort of big secret!’ he said, sitting alongside his girlfriend Kimberly Guilfoyle.
Guilfoyle said the controversy erupted while she was making a visit to the ladies room.
‘I left you alone for 10 minutes! What happens when mamacita’s gone?’ she joked.
Co-host Sunny Hostin asked Guilfoyle, a former prosecutor, ‘Did you advise your boyfriend that it is a federal crime to out a whistle-blower?’
‘It’s only a federal crime for the IG [Inspector General] to do it,’ Trump Jr. shot back. ‘That’s a lie.’
Defense: Don Jr. claimed he was exercising his ‘First Amendment rights’ by naming the alleged whistle-blower in a tweet, as his girlfriend Kimberly Guilfoyle, a former prosecutor, said he sent the tweet while she took a bathroom break
Stormy session: ‘The View’ erupted in shouting and finger-pointing as Don Jr. and girlfriend Kimberly Guilfoyle appeared to promote his new book – and be questioned on naming the alleged whistleblower on twitter Wednesday
Aftermath: Trump Jr. tweeted immediately after the show with a hashtag referring to his book, which he had appeared on the show to promote
Trump Jr. on Wednesday tweeted a link to an article published on the Breitbart news website, which named a man in a headline that the online outlet believes is the whistle-blower – a CIA analyst who launched a congressional impeachment inquiry over a phone call between President Donald Trump and his Ukrainian counterpart.
He said Thursday that as a ‘private citizen’ he is not breaking any law by releasing the name.
The federal Whistleblower Protection Act of 1989 prohibits the U.S. Office of Special Counsel from disclosing a whistle-blower’s identity, but does not extend to people outside the government.
Still, ‘The View’ hosts were livid.
‘The whole point of releasing a name is to intimidate someone, to threaten someone, and to scare other people from coming out,’ co-host Abby Huntsman said. ‘That’s something that dictators do.’
Huntsman, the daughter of President Trump’s ambassador to Russia, said she was ‘outraged because I care about diplomacy in this country.’
‘I care about how we protect the people when they see a wrongdoing, and they go through the proper political channels and they are protected for doing that.’
‘I literally quote-tweeted an article that had the guy’s name in the title of the article,’ the president’s son shot back, saying he is the frequent target of threats himself.
‘I wish the outrage would be equal. I mean, there was no outrage when my family got an exploding letter … with white powder substance in it,’ he said.
‘I don’t regret doing it,’ he insisted of his tweet. ‘No, I don’t think I should have to forgo my First Amendment rights.’
‘It’s out there. I read it in an article. I’ve been reading it for a week. I saw it on the Drudge Report.’
‘Why was there no outrage when the Drudge Report, probably the largest aggregator of media news – he puts it out there a few days ago, and crickets. No problem with that.’
Trump Jr. tweeted later: ‘Are they going to pretend that his name hasn’t been in the public domain for weeks now? Numerous people & news outlets including Real Clear Politics already ID’d him.’
He is promoting a book, ‘Triggered: How the Left Thrives on Hate and Wants to Silence Us.’
The White House said Wednesday that neither President Trump nor anyone else on his team was aware of Trump Jr.’s tweet before he sent it.
‘The entire media is #Triggered that I (a private citizen) tweeted out a story naming the alleged whistleblower,’ the president’s son tweeted Wednesday.
‘Are they going to pretend that his name hasn’t been in the public domain for weeks now? Numerous people & news outlets including Real Clear Politics already ID’d him.’
DailyMail.com is not publishing the name that has been the subject of controversy since the Real Clear Politics website first identified a possible whistle-blower, because the identity can not be independently verified.
Trump Jr. noted that ABC, the network that airs ‘The View,’ quickly investigated a whistle-blower this week who leaked hit-mic video of an anchor lamenting that higher-ups had years ago spiked a story about pedophile Jeffrey Epstein.
‘ABC is right now chasing down a whistle-blower about all of the Epstein stuff because those stories were killed,’ he said.