A report claims that Fox News’ management has forbidden network hosts to use the name of the alleged whistleblower at the center of the impeachment inquiry against President Donald Trump.
On Oct. 31, an unnamed executive emailed Fox News staff that the network hasn’t “independently confirmed [the] name or identification of the anonymous whistleblower” and called on staffers to “NOT fulfill any video or graphic requests” in relation to the identity of the anonymous person’s identity, CNN reported.
Fox News’ Sean Hannity also said on Monday that he “confirmed independently” the name of the person. “You know what, I will play the game for a little bit,” he told viewers. “I will take the lawyers’ threats that they’re going to sue me; it wouldn’t go anywhere.”
There have been reports that identified the whistleblower, who apparently worked for the CIA.
Fox News has not responded to questions about the CNN report.
Meanwhile, the president’s son, Donald Trump Jr., has frequently tweeted the name of the person. President Trump himself and other Republicans have called for the identity of the whistleblower to be revealed so as to expose suspected biases.
The efforts to unmask the whistleblower have drawn rebuke from several senators, including Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.), a ranking member of the Senate Judiciary Committee.
“Attempts by the president and congressional Republicans to publicly identify the whistleblower are inexcusable and must stop. These efforts are nothing more than an attempt to distract the public from a legitimate investigation of serious allegations made against the president,” she wrote on Twitter Wednesday.
But Trump Jr. pushed back against the criticism.
“The entire media is #Triggered that I (a private citizen) tweeted out a story naming the alleged whistleblower. Are they going to pretend that his name hasn’t been in the public domain for weeks now?” he wrote on Twitter.
A lawyer for the whistleblower, Andrew Bakaj, sent a letter to the White House on Thursday, telling Trump about the “legal and ethical peril in which he is placing himself should anyone be physically harmed,” according to The Hill.
Bakaj claimed that the president is “engaging in rhetoric and activity that places my client, the Intelligence Community Whistleblower, and their family in physical danger.”
“Should anyone be physically harmed, my co-counsel, Mark Zaid, and I will not hesitate to take any and all appropriate action against your client,” he added, the report said.