Can Trump Legally Out the Whistleblower? Experts Say it Would Not Violate Any Laws

NPR

11/06/2019

Robert S. Litt

National Security, CFIUS, Sanctions + Export Controls

In The News

Morrison & Foerster partner Robert Litt spoke to NPR about whether it would be a crime for the president to reveal the name of the anonymous whistleblower.

The answer is no, according to Robert. “If Trump thinks he knows the name, he can come out and say it, and he’s probably as protected as anyone,” Robert said, but adds that if naming a whistleblower causes a chain reaction leading to a demotion or firing, or if the whistleblower is threatened with violence or is physically harmed, the legal situation could change drastically.

“Anybody who is thinking about outing the whistleblower has to take into account the possibility that if something happens to the whistleblower, there would be some civil liability for causing that to happen. And while disclosing the identity of the whistleblower isn’t necessarily unlawful, creating a hostile work environment might be viewed as retaliation.”

Email Disclaimer

Unsolicited e-mails and information sent to Morrison & Foerster will not be considered confidential, may be disclosed to others pursuant to our Privacy Policy, may not receive a response, and do not create an attorney-client relationship with Morrison & Foerster. If you are not already a client of Morrison & Foerster, do not include any confidential information in this message. Also, please note that our attorneys do not seek to practice law in any jurisdiction in which they are not properly authorized to do so.

©1996-2019 Morrison & Foerster LLP. All rights reserved.