But for the whistleblower’s complaint, there is every reason to think that Zelensky would have played ball with Trump, as had long been planned, and made the public announcement that the former vice president and his son Hunter would be investigated, just as Trump and Giuliani demanded in exchange for the release of military aid.
At that point, after Trump had gotten his way, it might have been impossible to unscramble the eggs. If information about the “rogue operation” had later surfaced, could the new Ukrainian president have admitted that he had indeed capitulated to the American extortion? And by then, of course, by virtue of Zelensky’s announcement, the smearing of the Bidens would have already have occurred. There would have been no putting that toothpaste back in the tube.
And even then, there is the distinct possibility that Trump even then, might not have released the aid Ukraine needs to keep the Russians at bay. Zelensky still has not received the White House meeting that was supposed to be his reward (and would have definitively signaled which side Washington was on in the Moscow-Kyiv theater of war).
So the whistleblower has performed a huge public service. He or she revealed a course of corrupt presidential conduct that the //president, the secretary of state and the attorney general have tried to bottle up, contain or ignore but will likely result in only the third House impeachment vote in U.S. history. By doing so, the whistleblower advanced the national security interests of the United States by forcing the release of the military aid while laying bare the inappropriate control of foreign policy that had been ceded to the president’s personal lawyer, an untrustworthy agent whose admitted sole concern was Trump’s personal interests, and not the country’s.
Can even the most obstinate Trump supporter deny that the country is better off for knowing the facts of what the president and his team did?
And now, farewell. Coming forward with information for others to assess is exactly what we ask, and all we ask, of whistleblowers. The whistleblower’s allegations have been put to the test and substantiated through independent evidence and sworn testimony. The whistleblower has no further role to play. The identity, political leanings, and personal history — they are of no possible moment. It would not matter if the whistleblower was John F. Kelly, George Soros, Michael Avenatti or Donald Trump Jr. What matters is the accuracy of the information provided.
To the extent that the Republicans continue to try to identify the whistleblower, such an effort would be designed only to create another irrelevant sideshow. But then that is the party’s go-to move for every critic of the president over the last three years.
And make no mistake about it, it also would be illegal for anyone in government to do so. Because the president and others, such as Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.), are pawing the stall to go after the whistleblower, there has been continuing debate about whether revealing the whistleblower’s identify would constitute prohibited “retaliation” under the law. I have previously explained why it would, and why the Republicans' desire to put the whistleblower through the wringer (and expose him to potential physical danger) is, of course, a form of retaliation. Courts considering comparable whistleblower statutes have made that clear.
The whistleblower has more than earned the privacy the law affords — as well as the country’s great gratitude. He or she has sparked a month-long master class in speaking truth to power and holding high government officials to account.
If those who would out the truth-teller succeed, the whistleblower will become the latest casualty of Trump’s war on norms and standards and the rule of law.