USA Today blasted President Donald Trump for his "vitriolic campaign" to publicly identify the whistleblower who raised concerns about Trump's July phone call with the president of Ukraine.
The newspaper's comments came in an editorial posted Monday.
"The fundamental promise of whistleblower protection is to create a safe space for a witness of wrongdoing to come forward and report it — and, for the sake of his or her professional reputation or even physical safety, to remain anonymous in doing so," the newspaper said.
"Nothing chills truth-telling in the halls of power like the risk of retribution, and no risk is more harrowing than unmasking potentially impeachable offenses by a president.
Trump "has launched a vitriolic campaign to publicly identify the person who exposed his problematic July 25 phone call with the president of Ukraine."
It said the president has maintained the whistleblower's account is riddled with lies.
But the newspaper noted the whistleblower may not even have to testify "because so much of the person's complaint has been independently verified."
"Lawyers for the whistleblower said they have been targets of violent threats and one of them, Andrew Bakaj, said his worst fear for his client, if the person is identified, is 'physical harm to include death.'"
And USA Today added: "If Trump managed to bully disclosure, it would almost certainly guarantee that any future witness to presidential malfeasance — be it a Democratic or Republican — will stay silent."
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