Recall that however vulgar, the Trump Twitter feed has been since the Inaugural, official WH statements. Trump has perhaps crossed a line with regard to the Whistleblower Protection Act, that if anything, as retaliation could add to the numerous possible charges of witness tampering.
Trump has shared more than 100 posts about the whistleblower since September, but until this week he refrained from sharing any content directly pointing to a person's name. Here's my full story about the line he has now crossed https://t.co/XIOWYvxazB
— Brian Stelter (@brianstelter) December 28, 2019
President Donald Trump retweeted an attack that included an unsubstantiated name of the intelligence community whistleblower at the heart of the Ukraine scandal as part of a series of rants and conspiratorial posts overnight.
Trump or someone with access to his Twitter account removed the retweet Saturday morning.Other retweets were also reversed, including pro-Trump and anti-Democrat memes from suspicious-looking Twitter accounts. But his whistleblower-related post was the most noteworthy because nearly every public official involved in the impeachment inquiry agreed that the identity of the original complainant should be protected.
President Trump retweeted, then deleted, a post that included the alleged name of the anonymous whistleblower whose complaint led to Trump's impeachment. It was the first time he sent the name directly on his feed. https://t.co/ELPhBkcRMH
— AP Politics (@AP_Politics) December 29, 2019
Lawyers debate whether the naming of the federal whistle-blower is in itself illegal. Federal law forbids inspectors general to disclose the names of whistle-blowers, but the law isn’t explicit about disclosure by anybody else in government.
What the law does forbid is retaliation against a whistle-blower. And a coordinated campaign of vilification by the president’s allies—and the president himself—surely amounts to “retaliation” in any reasonable understanding of the term.