President Trump on Sunday said that the media should name the whistleblower behind a complaint about President Trump’s dealings with Ukraine and that such reporting would be “doing the public a service.”
“The whistleblower gave a very inaccurate report about my phone call. My phone call was perfecto. It was totally appropriate. He gave a report – he or she – but according to the newspapers it’s a he,” Trump told reporters.
“They think they know – they know who it is! You know who it is. You just don’t want to report it. CNN knows who it is but you don’t want to report it. And you would be doing the public a service if you did,” he added.
The whistleblower’s identity is not public. Trump did not give evidence for his claim that newspapers or CNN know the person’s identity.
“The fixation on exposing the whistleblower’s identity is simply because they’re at a loss as to how to address the investigations the underlying disclosure prompted,” Andrew Bakaj, an attorney representing the whistleblower, told The Hill in a statement in response to Trump’s remarks.
The whistleblower’s complaint set off a series of events that led to a House impeachment inquiry into the president. The probe is centered on a call in which Trump asked Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky to look into Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden.
The person’s identity has not been reported publicly, although the New York Times reported some details on the person in September.
The whistleblower’s lawyers have argued for keeping their client’s identity a secret.
“Much of what has been disclosed since the release of our client’s complaint actually exceeds the whistleblower’s knowledge of what transpired at the time the complaint was submitted,” Bakaj and fellow attorney Mark Zaid wrote in a Washington Post op-ed last month.
“Because our client has no additional information about the president’s call, there is no justification for exposing their identity and all the risks that would follow,” they added.