The legal and ethical peril

The whistleblower’s lawyer sent the White House counsel a cease and desist letter. That may seem a futile gesture but at least it gets it on the record.

“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,” Andrew Bakaj wrote to White House counsel Pat Cipollone in a Thursday letter obtained by CNN’s Anderson Cooper.

“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,” he said.

In his letter, Bakaj cites Trump’s recent comments to reporters that they’d “be doing the public a service” if they reported the name of the whistleblower as well as his comments in September that whoever provided the whistleblower with information about his call with the Ukrainian President is “close to a spy,” adding that in the old days spies were dealt with differently.

“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 wrote.

I like that. I like the lawyerly caution and precision coupled with the damning nature of the substance. Trump indeed lacks a firm grasp of the significance of the office which he occupies…and he indeed thinks his words are significant because they are his, not because of the office he so wretchedly occupies.

House Democrats have argued that the whistleblower’s identity is irrelevant at this stage in the proceedings due to testimony from several witnesses corroborating and expanding on allegations contained in the initial complaint.

Pff, who cares about that, the point is revenge.

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