Republicans try to undercut ambassador who testified Ukraine quid pro quo came at Trump’s ‘express direction’

During the hearing today, Rep. Mike Coway tried to undercut Rep. Adam Schiff‘s claims that the whistleblowers anonymity was protected by statute.

Under 2012 guidelines issued by President Obama, whistleblowers are protected from work-related retaliation, including “an appointment, promotion, or performance evaluation, or any other significant change in duties, responsibilities or working conditions.”

Facts First: It is true that no law explicitly prevents anyone, other than the Inspector General and their staff, from revealing the name of a whistleblower. But that doesn’t mean it’s legal to identify them, or that they are wholly unprotected.In 1998, Congress passed the Intelligence Community Whistleblower Protection Act, which formalized the process under which whistleblowers from the intelligence community could report complaints to Congress.

Revealing the whistleblower’s name does not clearly fall under one of these categories.

Robert Litt, former general counsel for the Office of the Director of National Intelligence under Obama, argues it could be considered retaliatory if the individual disclosing the name is also a member of the intelligence community.

But Litt notes that if members of Congress identified the whistleblower on the floor of Congress, they would be protected from criminal prosecution under the Speech or Debate Clause. Experts note that this situation is largely unprecedented, therefore the answer is not so cut and dried.

You can read more about the protections regarding anonymity that whistleblowers have here.

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