Politics Explainer: Is it illegal for Trump or Congress to name the impeachment whistleblower?

00:25  08 november  2019
00:25  08 november  2019 Source:   reuters.com

GOP argues whistleblower's name must be public

  GOP argues whistleblower's name must be public The clash over the whistleblower's identity — and that person’s right to anonymity — has emerged as a frontline battle in the partisan war over the Trump impeachment inquiry. require(["medianetNativeAdOnArticle"], function (medianetNativeAdOnArticle) { medianetNativeAdOnArticle.getMedianetNativeAds(true); }); Republicans on Capitol Hill contend that knowing the whistleblower's identity is vital to the process, granting Trump the right to face his accuser - and learn of any political biases the figure might have.

That provision says the inspector general should not disclose the whistleblower 's identity without their consent, unless the watchdog determines that " It is presumed that people would want to not publicly expose a whistleblower because of all the public policy reasons for not doing so," said McClanahan.

The second whistleblower : Trump told reporters today he is “not at all” concerned about a second President Trump continued his criticism of the House impeachment inquiry today The senator said he did not think Congress should pursue impeachment , but he did concede that a bipartisan group

(Reuters) - U.S. President Donald Trump and some Republican lawmakers are pushing for political and media allies to reveal the name of the whistleblower who prompted an impeachment inquiry.

a man wearing a suit and tie: U.S. President Donald Trump holds a campaign rally in Monroe, Louisiana© Reuters/LEAH MILLIS U.S. President Donald Trump holds a campaign rally in Monroe, Louisiana

"The whistleblower should be revealed because the whistleblower gave false information," Trump told reporters on Sunday.

Rand Paul, a Republican senator from Kentucky, on Tuesday tweeted a link to an article from a right-wing news outlet that claims to have identified the whistleblower. On Wednesday, the president's son, Donald Trump Jr., tweeted a link to an article including the same name.

Trump calls on Ukraine whistleblower to come forward

  Trump calls on Ukraine whistleblower to come forward Trump calls on Ukraine whistleblower to come forward .The impeachment focuses on Trump's request in a July 25 phone call with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy for an investigation of former Vice President Joe Biden, a political rival, and his son. Lawmakers are also looking at testimony that Trump withheld $391 million in U.S. aid from Ukraine to pressure Zelenskiy to launch, and publicly announce, such a probe.

Trump further alleged that the whistleblower is “a big anti- Trump person” and an “Obama person” who should be outed because he or she Ironically, the action that set impeachment in motion was itself an attempted smear; Trump had sought the public announcement of a probe into the Ukrainian

"If Trump thinks he knows the name , he can come out and say it , and he's probably as protected as anyone is," said Robert Litt, former general counsel Similarly if a news outlet, member of Congress or member of the public outed the whistleblower , legal experts said, no criminal law would be violated.

Democrats, some Republicans, and members of the U.S. intelligence community have strongly objected to the effort, calling it everything from inappropriate to illegal.

Here is what U.S. law says about how whistleblowers in the intelligence community should file complaints, and the punishments for retaliation and identification.


On Aug. 12, the whistleblower lodged a complaint with an internal government watchdog about a July 25 phone call between Trump and Ukraine's new president Volodymyr Zelenskiy. During that call, Trump pressed his Ukrainian counterpart to investigate a political rival, former Vice President Joe Biden, and his son Hunter Biden.

The whistleblower filed the report with Intelligence Community Inspector General Michael Atkinson, as required under the Intelligence Community Whistleblower Protection Act of 1998 (ICWPA https://www.govinfo.gov/content/pkg/PLAW-105publ272/html/PLAW-105publ272.htm), which lays out procedures for reporting allegations of fraud, waste, or violations of law.

Grassley: Up to whistleblower to reveal identity

  Grassley: Up to whistleblower to reveal identity Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) said Monday that it is up to the whistleblower at the center of the impeachment inquiry to decide whether or not to come forward after President Trump urged the media to reveal the individual's identity."That's strictly up to the whistleblower," Grassley told reporters.

Trump impeachment inquiry. Image copyright Getty Images. He was speaking after it was confirmed that public impeachment hearings will begin in Congress next Wednesday. The impeachment inquiry centres on claims that Mr Trump pressured Ukraine to announce an

That ’s probably wishful thinking in terms of a policy U-turn from the Trump administration on the climate The indictment does not name the official or say who directed the outreach to Stone. Impeachment woes pile on for Trump . Good morning, US politics watchers, it ’s a massive day on

Atkinson determined the complaint was credible and involved an urgent concern, and shared it with Acting Director of National Intelligence Joseph Maguire on Aug. 26, as required under the ICWPA.

The ICWPA requires the director to report any complaint to Congressional intelligence committees within seven days. Maguire consulted with the White House, and the report was sent to prescribed members of Congress on Sept. 25.

Maguire found the complaint did not meet the legal definition of "urgent concern." But it has since prompted a House of Representatives investigation into whether Trump committed "high crimes and misdemeanors" warranting impeachment.

John Cohen, a former official in the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, said the whistleblower followed the procedures laid out in the ICWPA, and that much of the whistleblower's complaint has been corroborated.

Facebook bars content claiming to name Trump impeachment whistleblower

  Facebook bars content claiming to name Trump impeachment whistleblower Facebook Inc. is taking down any content that claims to name the anonymous whistleblower who ignited an impeachment inquiry into U.S. President Donald Trump, the social network said on Friday. © Reuters/Dado Ruvic FILE PHOTO: Silhouettes of laptop users are seen next to a screen projection of a Facebook logo The company's statement follows right-wing Breitbart News' publication of an article that said it identified the whistleblower. require(["medianetNativeAdOnArticle"], function (medianetNativeAdOnArticle) { medianetNativeAdOnArticle.

President Donald Trump 's son published on Wednesday the name of the alleged anonymous whistleblower whose complaint fired the impeachment But the revelation by the president's son comes as the White House seeks to discredit the mounting impeachment effort in Congress against

Donald Trump has doubled down on his call for the media to name the Ukraine whistleblower , praising such a proposal as “excellent”. He planned to tell the House impeachment inquiry that he heard Donald Trump appeal to Ukraine's president to investigate his leading political rivals.


There is only one provision in the ICWPA that deals specifically with whistleblower anonymity, said Kel McClanahan, a national security lawyer in Washington.

That provision says the inspector general should not disclose the whistleblower's identity without their consent, unless the watchdog determines that "such disclosure is unavoidable during the course of the investigation."

Once the complaint is out of the inspector general's hands the law does little to guarantee the whistleblower anonymity, said McClanahan, the executive director of National Security Counselors, a public interest law firm.

"It is presumed that people would want to not publicly expose a whistleblower because of all the public policy reasons for not doing so," said McClanahan.

Members of the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence who reveal the whistleblower's identity could violate that committee's rules and face censure from fellow lawmakers, McClanahan said. Censure is largely symbolic, however, and does not remove a House member from office.

Facebook reportedly bans mentions of White House whistleblower's name

  Facebook reportedly bans mentions of White House whistleblower's name YouTube has taken a similar approach to videos mentioning the person.The White House whistleblower wrote a nine-page complaint in July that alleged senior officials tried to "lock down" the details of Trump's phone call over the summer with Ukraine's president. During the phone call with Volodymyr Zelensky, Trump brought up the prospect of an investigation into Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden and his son.

Trump is currently facing an impeachment inquiry over anonymous whistleblower 's complaint, turned over to The complaint specifically charged that Trump 's pressure on the Ukrainian government to investigate alleged When a lawmaker asked whether Sondland also believed it was illegal , he

“The Whistleblower got it sooo wrong that HE must come forward,” Trump tweeted on Sunday, revealing the individual’s gender and hinting at knowledge of his It is unclear who was paying Giuliani but he has advised two Ukrainian Americans arrested last month for campaign finance violations.

The whistleblower's lawyers said in a statement on Wednesday that efforts to identify their client "will place that individual and their family at risk of serious harm" and will deter future whistleblowers.


A 2012 directive https://www.va.gov/ABOUT_VA/docs/President-Policy-Directive-PPD-19.pdf from former President Barack Obama, formally put into law in 2014, supplemented the ICWPA to protect intelligence community whistleblowers from some forms of retaliation, including termination or security clearance revocation, if they follow rules for making disclosures.

There are limits to the law's protections, however. Unlike other whistleblowers in the federal government, intelligence community whistleblowers are not permitted to file lawsuits over any perceived retaliation. Instead, they must pursue relief through an internal review process.

Notably, the 2014 law ultimately puts the president in charge of enforcing the whistleblower protections.

Cohen, now a professor at Georgetown University, said the law was primarily intended to protect whistleblowers from workplace retaliation by colleagues and supervisors.

"It does not necessarily prevent disclosure of the identity of the whistleblower, which may subject the individual to retaliation from others," Cohen said.

Sen. Graham: Impeachment 'dead on arrival' in Senate if Dems keep whistleblower from testifying

  Sen. Graham: Impeachment 'dead on arrival' in Senate if Dems keep whistleblower from testifying Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., accused House Intelligence Committee Chairman Rep. Adam Schiff, D-Calif., of not caring about the truth, and said Schiff's impeachment efforts will go nowhere unless he calls the anonymous whistleblower to come forward and testify about their complaint against President Trump. House Republicans over the weekend submitted a list of witnesses they would like to call for public testimony during the impeachment inquiry, but Schiff -- who is running the probe -- was swift to reject the request to have the whistleblower come forward.

That call triggered the current congressional impeachment investigation that could seek to remove Mr Trump from office for alleged abuses of power. "She said it was for my security, that this was for my well-being, people were concerned," Ms Yovanovitch told Congress .

Briffault emphasized that while impeachment is a legal process set out in the U.S. Constitution, it is conducted by politicians. “They do have their constitutional duties, but they also have, obviously, their political concerns,” he said, meaning that how the public reacts to the hearings could influence the


Obama's directive gave intelligence community whistleblowers some protections against workplace retaliation, but does not provide them with security guards or similar protections.

House members have considered "extreme measures" to protect the whistleblower's identity in the event the individual testifies, including disguising their face and voice, CNN reported.

Lawyers for the whistleblower say they have received death threats after conservative media outlets have floated possible names.


Not really. Many government employees and contractors who have gone public with allegations of wrongdoing went directly to the press.

"I do not think I have ever seen a president, his allies in Congress and even his family work this hard to publicly disclose the name of a whistleblower who has followed the law," said Cohen.

"Its disturbing - particularly in light of the fact that the concerns raised by the whistleblower have for the most part been validated by witnesses with first hand knowledge," Cohen said.

(This story corrects third paragraph to show Paul is from Kentucky, not Kansas)

(Reporting by Jan Wolfe; Editing by Heather Timmons and Daniel Wallis)

Nikki Haley: 'I do think we should always protect whistleblowers' .
Former US Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley said Thursday that she believes "we should always protect whistleblowers," a notable departure from President Donald Trump and some congressional Republicans, who have called for the anonymous Ukraine whistleblower to be identified. "I mean, I believe in whistleblower laws. I think you have to protect a whistleblower, and then I think, in turn, the whistleblower has to abide by those laws and the fact that they don't allow any sort of partisan leaking or anything like that to have happen," Haley told CNN's Wolf Blitzer on "The Situation Room.

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