Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., attacked efforts by Republicans to identify the whistleblower behind the complaint of President Donald Trump's Ukrainian telephone call, calling them "nothing more than an attempt to distract the public from a legitimate investigation of serious allegations made against the president."
"Attempts by the president and congressional Republicans to publicly identify the whistleblower are inexcusable and must stop," Feinstein, ranking Democrat on the Senate Judiciary Committee, said in a statement posted on Twitter.
Noting that whistleblowers are protected by federal law, Feinstein said: "These complaints are made by conscientious public servants out of a sense of loyalty to America and its laws.
"They should be protected, not maligned by the people in charge of upholding those laws."
Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., said Tuesday that he "probably will" soon disclose the name of the whistleblower, while Donald Trump Jr. on Tuesday tweeted a news report that identified the alleged complainant.
President Trump has blasted the media for not reporting the name of the whistleblower, though he has been careful to not identify the person himself.
"The whistleblower's identity and testimony are irrelevant," Feinstein said in her statement. "Witnesses with first-hand knowledge have testified to the facts, which paint a troubling picture and should be the focus.
"The demand to reveal this whistleblower are purely punitive — clear retaliation for having brought wrongdoing to light," she said. "I urge my House and Senate colleagues to protect this whistleblower as they would any other."
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