Former Trump national security aide Fred Fleitz questioned the protections afforded to the CIA whistleblower whose name he claimed is known by Washington elites, including the president.
Fleitz, who served as a Deputy Assistant to President Donald Trump in 2018, argued with CNN’s Chris Cuomo about the whistleblower whose complaint about the president’s call with the leader of Ukraine sparked the Democrats’ impeachment inquiry.
“The CIA whistleblower. Can we talk about that?” Fleitz asked the CNN host near the end of a segment on “Cuomo Prime Time” Thursday.
“I don’t think it’s necessary. I think he’s irrelevant,” Cuomo replied as he was trying to wrap up and break for commercial.
“I’ve heard the name. CNN has the name. The White House has the name. House Intel Committee has the name,” Fleitz pressed. “Who’s this guy being protected from? The American people-”
“The statute,” Cuomo replied. “We protect whistleblowers for a reason. He’s also being protected from the president.”
“No, the president knows who he is,” Fleitz countered.
“I don’t know that,” Cuomo responded.
“We should talk about this right now,” Fleitz said, listing news organizations in addition to CNN, such as cable channel OANN and Breitbart News, which also know the whistleblower’s identity.
“I don’t know. Here’s what I’ll say: I’m out of time,” Cuomo replied.
“I’m not running from this. You’re always welcome to come back,” he added. “I don’t think you need the whistleblower. It’s a red herring.”
“But Adam Schiff said we’re going to have him on. What happened?” Fleitz pressed, referring to the House Intelligence Committee chairman. “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 concluded, ending the segment. “Come back. Let’s talk about it.”
The president appeared to contradict the argument made by his former aide, as he tweeted out later in the evening asking “Who is the so-called Informant…?”
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
Cuomo returned after the commercial break to address the remarks made by his guest, countering the claims that the president, news organizations and others in Washington are protecting the whistleblower’s identity.
“First I want to make something clear to you,” he told viewers.
“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.
“CNN does not have any position on knowing the name of the whistleblower,” he continued, almost seeming to make the point for Fleitz’s argument.
“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,” he said. “And we’re not going to use the unknown as a cudgel to say, well, he must be bad, she must be bad if we don’t know who they are.”
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