WASHINGTON (Nexstar) — Senator Mark Warner, co-chair of the Senate Intelligence Committee, said he’s deeply disturbed by the President Trump’s Twitter attacks on the intelligence whistleblower at the heart of the House impeachment inquiry.
Warner is urging the administration’s intelligence officials to publicly pledge that they will protect the whistleblower from retaliation or other harm.
“The President’s absolute abuse of this process is outrageous,” said Sen. Warner (D-Virginia).
He basically threatened the whistleblower and anyone who the whistleblower talked to calling them out as spies or traitors.
Warner’s concerns come as the president seems to be stepping up his efforts to discredit the person.
“We have a whistleblower who reports things that are incorrect,” Trump said.
Irvin McCullough with the Government Accountability Project said protecting whistleblowers is key.
“I am very afraid in the future whistleblowers will watch how this case played out and see how the Commander-in-Chief is urging retaliation against people like them and will essentially choose to remain silent,” McCullough said.
Federal law protects whistleblowers from retaliation such as losing security clearance or getting fired. The law also allows the whistle blower to remain anonymous unless it’s an unavoidable part of an investigation.
“Congress does have a right to hear from this whistleblower, as does the public and the president,” McCullough said.
McCullough said in this case, the whistleblower’s testimony could be key to the House impeachment inquiry. Warner said Congress wants to get to the bottom of the complaint.
“We’ll get to the other issues in terms of what happened with the president and Ukraine,” Warner said. But this action in terms of undermining the integrity of folks in the intelligence community should not stand.”
Warner is urging intelligence officials to make protecting the whistleblower’s identity and safety a top priority.