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Can Trump Legally Out The Whistleblower? Experts Say It Would Not Violate Any Laws

November 7, 2019

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In recent days, President Trump and his allies have amplified their calls for the whistleblower who sparked the impeachment inquiry to be identified, presenting the question of whether it would be a crime for the president to unmask the anonymous whistleblower.

According to four former top federal government officials who worked in intelligence and national security, the answer is no.

“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 for the Office of the Director of National Intelligence under President Barack Obama.

Litt and several other legal experts who talked to NPR said Trump uttering or tweeting the name could in theory trigger an article of impeachment for retaliating against a whistleblower, but it would not run afoul of any federal criminal statutes.

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