Senate

Rand Paul to ‘insist’ on whistleblower question blocked by John Roberts

Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) on Thursday will try to force Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts to read out loud a question regarding the anonymous whistleblower at the center of the impeachment inquiry.

Paul’s strategy, outlined on Twitter by his spokesman, will escalate a standoff between the two men on the Senate floor after much behind-the-scenes haggling.

“Senator Paul will insist on his question being asked during today’s trial. Uncertain of what will occur on the Senate floor, but American people deserve to know how this all came about,” Sergio Gor, a spokesman for Paul, tweeted.

Paul’s office indicated in a subsequent release that they were unsure whether the effort would be successful, but said “Paul believes it is crucial the American people get the full story on what started the Democrats’ push to impeach President Donald Trump.”

A source confirmed Wednesday that Roberts has indicated he would not read a question from Paul regarding the whistleblower.

The question from Paul is expected to name the individual. Because Roberts is responsible for reading the questions aloud, that would put him in the position of publicly outing the person on the floor of the Senate.

The whistleblower has been a focus of GOP criticism for months, with President Trump last year saying the individual was “close to a spy.”

Conservatives used a series of questions on Wednesday to try to shed new information on the whistleblower.

GOP Sens. Mike Lee (Utah), Ted Cruz (Texas) and Josh Hawley (Mo.) asked for details on who the whistleblower might have worked with.

Roughly 50 minutes later, Cruz, Hawley and Sen. Jerry Moran (R-Kan.) asked the House managers if the whistleblower worked for or with former Vice President Joe Biden.

None of those questions revealed the individual’s identity. 

Some GOP senators indicated they were not supportive of questions that would name the whistleblower.

Sen. John Thune (S.D.), the No. 2 Republican senator, suggested that GOP leadership had not been involved in rejecting questions, but that he did not expect the whistleblower to be named on the floor during the impeachment trial.

“I don’t think that happens, and I guess I would hope that it doesn’t,” he told reporters Wednesday.

Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) told reporters on Thursday that he didn’t think the impeachment trial was the setting for Paul’s whistleblower fight. 

“Not in this environment,” he said, asked if he thought the question was a good idea.

Tags Donald Trump Impeachment Jerry Moran Joe Biden John Thune Josh Hawley Lindsey Graham Mike Lee Rand Paul Ted Cruz

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