Jonathan Kraut | Trump and Blaming the Whistleblower

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We have observed President Trump as he perpetually goes to verbal war, casts insults, demeans, and claims as weak, ugly, stupid, or unfit anyone who does not fully agree with his policies or views.

This kind of bullying would not be tolerated in any school, college, business environment, and/or by a government official. But many still cling to, if not adore, Trump’s strongman, tough guy, mafioso, bully image. 

By now it has been fully corroborated by career diplomats and Trump appointees that Trump held hostage congressional funds for “an announcement” by Ukraine. 

Trump knows if he can claim again and again that Joe Biden and the Clinton computer server are under investigations by Ukraine, this false but powerful depiction will swing the election his way. Trump understands the investigation findings are irrelevant — the announcement is all he needs to defame and cast aspersion on his rivals.

Trump is caught orchestrating this clearly egregious act. Despite that, his supporters are downgrading this as “no big deal” and “the administration does this all the time…”

Trump has played this public announcement manipulation game before.

Do you recall when the newly announced candidate Trump boasted that almost all the pre-election polls had him in front of the other Republican candidates? 

Like a self-fulfilling prophecy, this claim was only true in part. Trump knew that simply the announcement and perception that he was the front runner would support him in becoming the front runner.

So, Trump is at it again. Simply the announcement that Joe Biden and the Clintons could be linked with corruption wins him the election. Since Trump’s Justice Department was unable to come up with a credible accusation, Trump had to lean on a foreign power to get this game-changing announcement. 

It is likely Ukraine was one of several countries pressed to make this kind of claim.

Now that abuse of power and misconduct are exposed, cross-checked, and verified by Trump’s own administration, Trump has no choice to divert from his abuse of power and to go after the person who first alerted the chain of command of this misconduct.

It is like blaming the 911 operator for reporting an incident.

As we know, Trump always paints himself as the victim, that he is being treated unfairly, that any challenge to him is a witch hunt and a hoax, and that any bad press is fake press.

However, in going after the whistleblower, Trump is actively defying the principles of privacy outlined in the Whistleblower Protection Act (WPA).

“The Whistleblower Protection Act (WPA) protects federal employees and applicants for employment who lawfully disclose information they reasonably believe evidences: a violation of law, rule, or regulation; gross mismanagement; a gross waste of funds; an abuse of authority; or a substantial and specific danger to public health or safety.”

The Whistleblower Protection Enhancement Act (WPEA) was enacted by the Republican Senate and the Congress in 2012 to strengthen protections for federal employees who report fraud, waste, and abuse. 

“The WPEA clarifies the scope of protected disclosures and establishes that the disclosure does not lose protection because: the disclosure was made to someone, including a supervisor, who participated in the wrongdoing disclosed; the wrongdoing being reported has previously been disclosed; of the employee’s motive for reporting the wrongdoing; the disclosure was made while the employee was off duty.”

The bottom line — every attempt to call to expose the whistleblower contradicts the privacy concerns implied by the WPA and WPEA. A person claiming misconduct whose claims are verified deserves protection. Any degradation, demeaning, discrediting, or bullying of a whistleblower is also not in the spirit of the act.

We expect our leaders to be the positive example for our nation. 

What excuse would you accept for Trump’s ongoing defiant behavior? We should ignore his bullying and possibly impeachable offenses because the economy is good right now? We should pretend any Trump investigation is automatically a hoax?  Or just declare every president is above the law? 

Jonathan Kraut directs a private investigations firm, is the CFO private security firm, is the COO of an Acting Conservatory, a published author, and Democratic Party activist. His column reflects his own views and not necessarily those of The Signal or of other organizations.

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