CNN has reached out to the DC Bar to confirm that it has received the letter.
“If a lawyer licensed in the District of Columbia can — while speaking in a representative capacity — publicly call for the death of his client’s perceived adversaries without consequences, the Counsel has abjectly failed in its duty. The Counsel must apply its standards equally and open an investigation into Mr. diGenova immediately,” Rice and Lieu wrote in the letter.
DiGenova on Tuesday tried to walk back his remarks by portraying them as a joke, saying in a statement distributed by the Trump campaign: “For anyone listening to the Howie Carr Show, it was obvious that my remarks were sarcastic and made in jest. I, of course, wish Mr. Krebs no harm. This was hyperbole in a political discourse.”
In their letter, Rice and Lieu said that diGenova’s conduct violated at least three of the DC Bar Rules of Professional Conduct and piggybacked “violent rhetoric” previously uttered by Trump.
The remarks from diGenova, though much more extreme than others made by officials in the White House during Trump’s time in office, underscored the administration’s crusade against whistleblowers and others who have spoken out in opposition during the President’s term and refuse to adopt his conspiratorial view of the election.
“The 2020 election was the most secure in U.S. history. This success should be celebrated by all Americans, not undermined in the service of a profoundly un-American goal,” he wrote.
DiGenova’s remarks were swiftly condemned on Monday by the Government Accountability Project, a whistleblower group that warned that such threats could have a chilling effect on officials seeking to expose wrongdoing.
The comments also did not sit well a top security official.
During a virtual panel discussion for the Aspen Cyber Summit on the China Initiative, National Counterintelligence and Security Center Director William Evanina said diGenova’s comments were wholly “inappropriate,” “embarrassing” and a “disappointment.”
CNN’s Jim Acosta, Zachary Cohen, Devan Cole, Kaitlan Collins and Jake Tapper contributed to this report.