Former Trump Nat Sec Aide Claims Whistleblower Identity Is Open Secret: Trump ‘Knows Who He Is!’
Former Trump national security aide Fred Fleitz challenged CNN’s Chris Cuomo about the anonymity protections given the CIA whistleblower, boldly claiming that the person’s true identity is an open secret in Washington: “I’ve heard the name, CNN has the name… the president knows who he is!”
After a long discussion on the House Democrats’ impeachment inquiry of President Donald Trump, which Cuomo was clearly wrapping up and preparing to go to commercial, Fleitz cut in and intentionally changed the subject.
“The CIA whistleblower. Can we talk about that?” Fleitz interjected.
When Cuomo seemed to brush off the request by saying he thought the whistleblower was now “irrelevant” — since so much of his or her initial report has been corroborated by other evidence — Fleitz pressed the anchor with a claim that the person’s true identity was effectively an open secret in official Washington, known by news organizations across the spectrum from CNN to Breitbart.
“I’ve heard the name. CNN has the name. The White House has the name. House Intel Committee has the name,” claimed Fleitz, who went on to add right-wing cable channel OANN and far right website Breitbart as others media sites that know the whistleblower’s identity. “Who’s this guy being protected from? The American people…”
“The statute,” Cuomo responded. “We protect whistleblowers for a reason. He’s also being protected from the president.”
“No, the president knows who he is!” Fleitz exclaimed.
“I don’t know that,” Cuomo shot back.
“We should talk about this right now,” Fleitz pressed.
“I don’t know. Here’s what I’ll say. I’m out of time. I’m not running from this. You’re always welcome to come back,” Cuomo said, before repeating: “I don’t think you need the whistleblower. It’s a red herring.”
“But [House Intel Chair] Adam Schiff said we’re going to have him on. What happened?” Fleitz said, clearly exasperated. “They’re hiding him, they’re hiding him because of his political bias.”
“I don’t know that he has political bias. I know the guys who are going there now [to testify] are your team and they should be believed because they certainly can’t be a function of bias,” Cuomo countered, before ending the segment.
Upon returning from commercial, a solo Cuomo took the time to address Fleitz’s implication that CNN — and, effectively, the rest of the Beltway media, including right-wing Trump-friendly news organizations, as well as Trump himself — were unnecessarily and unfairly protecting the whistleblower’s identity.
“The reason you protect a whistleblower is because there is a law that protects whistleblowers from whatever it is that they reasonably have a fear of. That’s why we protect their name,” Cuomo explained, before coming very close to confirming Fleitz’s claim. “CNN does not have any position on knowing the name of the whistleblower. I like, many people in journalism, have heard names, one specifically, about who this is supposed to be. We don’t report it because I respect the law. That’s why we do it.”
Even more bizarrely, just 40 minutes after Fleitz made his claim on CNN at 9:12pm EDT, the president posted another attack on the whistleblower on Twitter at 9:52pm EDT, in which Trump, again, clearly portrayed himself as unaware of the whistleblower’s actual identity. “Where is the Whistleblower, and why did he or she write such a fictitious and incorrect account of my phone call with the Ukrainian President?” Trump wrote. “Why did the IG allow this to happen? Who is the so-called Informant (Schiff?) who was so inaccurate?”
Where is the Whistleblower, and why did he or she write such a fictitious and incorrect account of my phone call with the Ukrainian President? Why did the IG allow this to happen? Who is the so-called Informant (Schiff?) who was so inaccurate? A giant Scam!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) October 25, 2019
As Thursday evening’s primetime news hour wound down, these two claims by the president and his former aide, which directly contradicted each other, remained in conflict.
Watch the video above, via CNN.
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