President Donald Trump openly broke the law and committed yet another impeachable offense last week when he tweeted out the name of the alleged whistleblower who came forward to reveal his Ukraine scandal, according to Harvard Law professor Laurence Tribe.
In July, Trump froze military aide to Ukraine after a phone call with President Zelensky in which he asked for a favor. Trump wanted Ukraine to announce an investigation against former Vice-President Joe Biden so he could have dirt on him heading into the 2020 Election. For over 80 days, Trump held the aid hostage until after the whistleblower came forward. Only then did he release the aid. Demanding a favor in return for aid is bribery, an abuse of power that resulted in Trump being impeached.
Trump also violated a law forbidding the president to freeze congressional appropriations, and his staffers knew all about it, even going so far as to say that presidents have the power to usurp Congress.
But Trump’s Twitter tantrum over the holidays in which he revealed the name of the alleged whistleblower also broke the law, which Tribe explained in an email to Salon.
“If by ‘legal ramifications’ you mean to ask me whether Donald Trump has violated yet another law, my answer is yes,” Tribe wrote. “The Intelligence Community Whistleblower Protection Act of 1998 (ICWPA) outlaws actions by government officials or agencies that directly or indirectly encourage retaliatory actions against employees who legitimately perform a whistleblower role in the intelligence community, as the whistleblower in this case clearly did regarding a matter of urgent concern, as determined by the Inspector General.”
Tribe went on to write that Trump “violated the letter and spirit of the ICWPA” by posting the name and that he did so “for vengeful reasons.”
After all, his supporters are likely going to harass and threaten the whistleblower and the whistleblower’s family. This is why the ICWPA exists so that identities are kept secret.
And so, Trump broke the law again and he should be impeached again. He did eventually take the tweet down, but it’s too late as his right-wing media supporters are already repeating the name, as are some of his most vocal Republican supporters in Congress. This is a serious violation of established law and a crucial law at that. Without it, whistleblowers would not come forward to reveal abuses of power by government officials. That’s what Trump wants so he can abuse his power without consequence. We shouldn’t tolerate this kind of behavior from any president.
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