Whistleblower's attorney warns Trump to 'cease and desist' attacks or face 'legal and ethical peril'
A lawyer representing the anonymous whistleblower who exposed the Ukraine extortion scandal on Thursday sent the White House Counsel a letter urging him to warn President Donald Trump to “cease and desist” his attacks against his client, and asking him to remind the president he will be in “legal and ethical peril” should the whistleblower or his family be harmed.
“I am writing out of deep concern that your client, the President of the United States, is engaging in rhetoric and activity that places my client, the Intelligence Community Whistleblower, and their family in physical danger,’ the letter, published by CNN, reads. “I am writing to respectfully request that you counsel your client on the legal and ethical peril in which he is placing himself should anyone be physically harmed as a result of his, or his surrogates’, behavior.”
The attorney, Andrew Bakaj, reminded White House Counsel Pat Cipollone, that President Trump has repeatedly attacked the whistleblower, even at one point likening him to a “spy,” and saying, publicly: “You know what we used to do in the old days when we were smart with spies and treason, right? We used to handle it a little differently than we do now.”
President Trump said that whoever provided the whistleblower with information about his call with the Ukrainian pre… https://t.co/ZjVnRjRPS3— Anderson Cooper 360° (@Anderson Cooper 360°)1569554199.0
Bakaj continued: “In the ‘old days,’ spies were summarily executed.”
“Respectfully, your client’s rhetoric and behavior fall well beneath the dignity of the office,” Bakaj added.
“These are not words of an individual with a firm grasp of the significance of the office which he occupies, nor a fundamental understanding of the significance of each word he articulates by virtue of occupying that office,” Bakaj also told Cipollone.
Bakaj also warned Cipollone of the likely violations of federal law Trump may have engaged in.
“In light of this, it is reasonable to submit that your client’s activity constitutes a violation of 18 U.S.C. § 1512, Tampering with a witness, victim, or an informant. Furthermore, because my client is a lawful whistleblower and a prospective congressional witness, any threats to influence, obstruct, or impede my client’s cooperation is a violation of 18 U.SC. § 1505, Obstruction of proceedings before departments, agencies, and committees. Finally, reprisal against my client for cooperating with a congressional inquiry would be a violation of 18 U.SC. § 1513, Retaliating against a witness, victim, or an informant.”
“Let me be clear: should any harm befall any suspected named whistleblower or their family, the blame will rest squarely with your client.”