Trump Jr.: It's OK for me to out whistleblowers because I'm a private citizen

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Though he calls himself a 'private citizen,' Donald Trump Jr. is a Republican activist and has profited from the Trump presidency.

Donald Trump Jr. defended his attempt to reveal the alleged identity of the whistleblower at the heart of the impeachment inquiry by asserting that he is merely a "private citizen."

On Wednesday, Trump Jr. tweeted a link to a story from Breitbart, a pro-Trump site, purporting to contain the name of the whistleblower. In his tweet, Trump Jr. repeated the name in question. His disclosure was criticized by the whistleblower's lawyer, who noted such disclosures could put his client at "risk of serious harm."

Trump Jr. made his comments defending his actions during a Thursday appearance on "The View" while he promoted his new book.

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"The whole point of releasing a name is to intimidate someone, to threaten someone and to scare other people from coming out," noted co-host Abby Huntsman, adding, "that's something that dictators do."

"The whistleblower's name was on a little website called The Drudge Report a couple days ago," Trump Jr. replied. He went on to claim that the name has "been out there for days in the media."

"It's different when the president's son does it though, isn't it?" co-host Sunny Hostin asked.

"Why? I mean, I'm a private citizen putting this out there — everyone else in the room could have read this," answered Trump Jr.

Later in the interview, Trump Jr. said he did not regret releasing the information, and noted, "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."

"Probably not a lot of people knew it was out there, but once you put it out" millions more knew, co-host Whoopi Goldberg said. "A lot more people know [Donald Trump Jr.'s] name than the Drudge Report."

The attempted outing of the whistleblower echoes other Republican attempts to redirect the focus of impeachment news instead of addressing the unethical actions that have been uncovered in the impeachment inquiry.

Multiple witnesses have confirmed Trump's attempts to induce Ukraine into digging up material on Vice President Joe Biden ahead of the 2020 election, but the party has continued to push for the whistleblower to be exposed and outed — even if their life could be endangered.

Contrary to his claims of merely being a "private citizen," Trump Jr. is a well known and highly visible political operator who promotes his father and the rest of the Republican party.

He regularly appears at his father's campaign rallies and travels the country making speeches on behalf of Republican candidates, along with speeches made to earn money. Trump Jr. is also a frequent guest on Fox News, where he is often booked to defend his father's presidency and to attack critics of the Trump administration.

His new book promotes itself as touting "the major achievements of President Trump's administration" and was promoted in a Trump tweet seen by millions around the world.

Trump Jr. also personally profits from his father's presidency. He and his brother Eric Trump operate the Trump Organization, which run's the family's hotel business. The company's Washington, D.C., location has been propped up with bookings from foreign entities, corporate groups seeking to do business with the administration, and a slew of Republican and conservative organizations.

Though he claims he is a "private citizen," it is nearly impossible to separate Trump Jr. from his father's administration and the Republican Party.

Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.