President Donald J. Trump may have blatantly broke the law (again) 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. (we will not be repeating that Tweet or name)
In July, Trump froze military aid 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 alleged abuse of power that resulted in Trump being impeached.
Trump also may have violated a statutory law that doesn’t permit the president to freeze congressional appropriations, and his staffers may have known all about it, even going so far as to say that presidents have the power to usurp Congress.
But Trump’s Twitter rant over the Christmas holiday in which he published the name of the alleged whistleblower also may have broken the law. Lawrence Tribe thinks so and Tribe explained why 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. 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 claim that Trump “violated the letter and spirit of the ICWPA” by posting the name and that he did so “for vengeful reasons.”
It is not a stretch to accept what Tribe says, especially the ‘vengeful reasons” part. Trump has made no secret of his penchant to attack anyone who disagrees with him and uses his bully pulpit to the max, and then some. The only question that remains is when will Republicans in Washington and American voters who make up his “base” had enough of these antics. Illegal or not, they surely aren’t fitting of someone holding the office of President of the United States.