On Thursday evening, Donald Trump pushed out on Twitter the name of the alleged whistleblower whose complaint led to the president’s impeachment.
Trump’s personal Twitter account, @realDonaldTrump, retweeted a post by the re-election campaign’s official “war room” account that was aimed at the whistleblower’s attorney Mark Zaid. “It's pretty simple. The CIA ‘whistleblower’ is not a real whistleblower!” reads the tweet, which links to a Washington Examiner item. That piece, published Dec. 3, includes the alleged whistleblower’s name in the headline. The Daily Beast is declining to publish the name and has not independently verified the identity of the whistleblower.
As The Daily Beast reported last month, Trump had gossiped for weeks about this alleged whistleblower with various friends, media figures, and senior administration officials, and had asked some people if they thought it was a good idea for him to publicly announce or tweet the name. Several people close to the president, such as Ivanka Trump and White House Counsel Pat Cipollone, had privately cautioned him against saying or posting the name in public, arguing it would be counterproductive and unnecessary.
Even Fox News host Sean Hannity, who had also gossiped in recent months with Trump about the alleged whistleblower, hadn’t pushed the president hard on this.
Multiple sources close to Trump had told The Daily Beast last month that they were genuinely shocked the president hadn’t already rage-tweeted the name or blurted it out to the cameras, given his massive fury at the individual. On Thursday night, President Trump’s restraint appeared to slip.
Zaid — who has worked with The Daily Beast on Freedom of Information Act requests — and the White House did not immediately respond to requests for comment on this story.