President Donald Trump is blasting the media for not reporting the name of a person who has been identified in conservative circles as the whistleblower who spurred the impeachment inquiry. Yet Mr Trump has carefully avoided using the name himself.
Exposing whistleblowers can be dicey, even for a president. For one thing, it could be a violation of federal law to identify the whistleblower. While there’s little chance Mr Trump could face charges, revealing the name could give Democrats more impeachment fodder. It could also prompt a backlash among some Senate Republicans who have long defended whistleblowers.
And, despite wanting the name to be disclosed, Mr Trump sees some benefits to keeping it secret. The anonymity makes it easier for Mr Trump to undermine the credibility of the person behind the complaint as well as the complaint itself, according to three officials and Republicans close to the White House not authorised to publicly discuss private conversations. It also allows him to bash the media for supposedly protecting the whistleblower.