Donald Trump Jr: I Didn’t Realize Whistleblower’s Identity Was a Big Secret

By Melanie Arter | November 7, 2019 | 11:36am EST
(Photo by ANGELA WEISS/AFP via Getty Images)
(Photo by ANGELA WEISS/AFP via Getty Images)

( – Donald Trump Jr., in an appearance on ABC’s “The View” on Thursday, defended his decision to retweet the name of the alleged whistleblower after his identity was leaked by other news sources, including The Drudge Report.

Co-host Abby Huntsman said she was “triggered” by Donald Trump Jr.’s actions, because she said the point of releasing a whistleblower’s name “is to intimidate someone, to threaten someone, and to scare other people from coming out.”

Huntsman is the daughter of former Utah Gov. Jon Huntsman Jr., who was appointed by Trump to be the U.S. ambassador to Russia, who resigned from the post in August.

“We're going to get to ‘Triggered,’ the book, in a moment and your relationship, but you did something that triggered a lot of people yesterday, including myself by releasing the name of the whistle-blower - the whistle-blower whose complaint has led to impeachment hearings,” Huntsman said. 

“The whole point of releasing a name is to intimidate someone, to threaten someone, and to scare other people from coming out. That's something that dictators do. I have lived in China. I’ve seen that first hand. That's not what America does. That’s not who we do. We don’t -- we stand by our people. Why did you want to release the name?” she asked.

"I think the reality of the answer is the whistle-blower's name was on a little website called The Drudge Report a couple of days ago. It was on Real Clear Politics. I literally quote tweeted an article that had the guy's name in the title of the article,” Don Trump Jr. said.

“I wish the outrage would be equal. I mean, there was no outrage when, you know, my family got an exploding letter of, you know, with white powder substance in it. They're protecting a guy, you know, in the CIA, and there's great outrage, but when your family gets something, and that's a big part of the book which is, it's not a level playing field in terms of outrage. We do live in an outrage culture. 

“But he asked to be anonymous. Your family did not. There’s a difference,” co-host Joy Behar said.

Donald Trump Jr., said the whistleblower’s name has been “out there in the media’ for days.

“So what's the difference between me tweeting about it? he asked.

Co-host Sunny Hostin said it’s different when the president’s son does it.

“But why? I'm a private citizen putting this out there. I don't see any difference whatsoever. The reality is -- it seems to me, and my point of view on this, it seems to me that everyone is outraged that his name is out there because now people are saying, okay. He's tied to Joe Biden. Joe Biden was working in the white house. He has ties to Brennan who’s been leading the cabal on Trump. Let's be honest about what it is,” Trump said.

“But just to be clear, that's not why I'm outraged. I'm outraged because I care about diplomacy in this country. I care about how we protect the people when they see a wrongdoing, that they go through the proper political channels and they are protected for doing that,” Huntsman said.

Donald Trump Jr.’s girlfriend Kimberly Guilfoyle, who is also senior adviser for President Donald Trump’s reelection campaign, pointed out that the whistleblower’s name “has been out there for five days.”

“ABC is right now chasing down a whistle-blower about all of the Epstein stuff because those stories were killed, so if we're going to have the conversation about the outrage about whistle-blowers, you work with CBS to out a whistle-blower who came up with a story--” Donald Trump Jr. said. “You work with them. That broke this morning.”

“My point is one of hypocrisy, and again a big part of why I wrote the book is because there's so much hypocrisy out there. Now I understand that the mainstream is left-leaning. I don't think anyone’s ever debated that or doubted that for a long time, but they’ve gotten rid of the pretense of objectivity at this point. They’re like, you know what? We're just going to be the marketing wing of the other side,” he said.

“If you talk about hypocrisy, you seem fine with people leaking information if it makes you and your father look good because Wikileaks and Julian Assange is a cyberterrorist, right? I think a Russian puppet. You were fine promoting his stuff, and your dad praising him on the campaign trail if it makes you look good. So how is this person who went through the right channels, how are you now releasing his name and putting his life in danger, but Wikileaks was doing the right thing?” Huntsman asked.

“Here's the thing. There's a lot of context, and I hear what you are saying. It's a fair enough question because he may be a private citizen, but nevertheless he is the, you know, son of the president of the United States,” Guilfoyle,

“And a campaign surrogate,” Hostin pointed out.

"And somebody who works as a campaign surrogate, but not officially with the campaign, but nevertheless, when you look at the facts and the circumstances, you look at in fact even on this show the first day after the election, it said, and now let's start with impeachment. This has been something that's going on. It's a concerted effort by a lot of people who are just disappointed by the results of the election to undo it and remove a duly elected president of the United States, number one," Guilfoyle said.

“That isn’t not true,” Behar said.

“It was on this show on November 9th,” Guilfoyle said.
Co-host Whoopi Goldberg said Don Trump Jr.’s claim that he’s a private citizen and can tweet the name of the whistleblower is “disingenuous” no matter how many days his name has been out there. She also speculated that the whistleblower and his family is receiving mail with white powder in it just like the Trump family received.

GOLDBERG: We are an opinion show. That's what we do. What you seem to have done, and feels very disingenuous because you can't say, I'm a private citizen, and yet you're in the middle of all of this. You were brought to the FBI folks. Everybody talked to you, you know, you're part of this,

So when you release a name like that, even if it was out for 10 days or 20 days, you have to know that people – If you were talking about the white powder that your family got, this guy's family is getting the same thing, and why is it okay for one and not both? 

TRUMP: We don't know that that's actually happening to him first and foremost,” Trump said.

GOLDBERG: We don't know that it happened to you.

TRUMP: It was recorded. 

GUILFOYLE: It was a case--


“You're a lawyer. We have known each other. I'm a former prosecutor. Did you advise your boyfriend that it is a federal crime to out a whistle-blower?” Hostin asked.

“I didn't advise him that it was a federal crime, but I did come out of the bathroom and say, I left you alone for 10 minutes. What happened when Mamacita’s gone?” Guilfoyle said.

“It's not a federal crime. It’s only a federal crime for the IG to do it. That’s in the statute,” Trump said.

“Well no, that’s not true. That's a lie,” Hostin said. “Under U.S. Code Section 1505, it is a crime.”

“It's not accurate,” Trump said.

“My law degree says it is, but nevertheless – “ Hostin said.

“He's not the individual who put it out there,” Guilfoyle said. 

“My question is, you did speak to him about that?” Hostin asked.

“No, not prior to. After I said, oh what happened? He said, ‘well they're saying I released this, and I outed,’ but if you look at the facts, and the facts are that the name was out there. I'm not saying-- okay, I understand what you are saying that perhaps okay, it wasn't the most prudent decision to retweet an article, but I want to tell you something. When you talk about transparency, the president of the united States released the transcript of exactly what happened in that phone call. The whistle-blower is giving his opinion or her opinion of what transpired,” Guilfoyle said.

“That’s out there to say. He's not trying to hide anything. Thank God he transcribed it. Now we know the truth,” she said.

Trump said he wasn’t trying to create hysteria by retweeting the article.  

“I don't want to create hysteria, but if I’m reading an article, … oh the name is out there. I didn't even realize that this thing’s some sort of big sort of secret.” he said.

Trump said he doesn’t regret doing it though.

“No, I don’t think I should have to forego my First Amendment rights. It’s out there. I read it in an article. I’ve been reading it for a week. I saw it on the Drudge Report. This is not some secret, but because it's Donald Trump, because he's an outspoken guy ---“ he said.

“Why was there no outrage when the Drudge Report, which is a major website, probably the largest aggregator of media news in America, he puts it out there a few days ago, and crickets. No problem with that,” he added.

“Because probably not a lot of people knew that it was out there, but once you put it out to there –“ Goldberg said.

“Millions of people see it a day,” Trump noted.

“Listen, man. I don't know how many people here read the Drudge Report. I don't know, but I'm saying a lot more people know your name than know the Drudge Report,” Goldberg said.


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