On February 4, 2020, Kentucky Senator Rand Paul read the name of the alleged whistleblower who spilled the beans about President Donald Trump’s behavior toward Ukraine.
Most Senate Republicans shrugged it off.
After Chief Justice John Roberts denied Paul’s whistleblower question last week, Paul took advantage of the time reserved for senators’ impeachment speeches.
“They made a big mistake not allowing my question. My question did not talk about anybody who is a whistleblower, my question did not accuse anybody of being whistleblower, it did not make a statement believing that someone was a whistleblower. I simply named two people’s names because I think it’s very important to know what happened,” Paul declared on the floor.
Republican Senators really did not make a fuzz about the Chief Justice Roberts’s decision.
“I was glad we didn’t put the chief justice in a bad situation,” said Missouri Senator Roy Blunt. “I have some sympathy for [Paul’s] view on this. The whistleblower law should protect the whistleblower’s job and future opportunity and not necessarily hide who the whistleblower is.”
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“It’s fine,” stated North Dakota Senator Kevin Cramer. “Had there been a vote on it, I probably would have voted to override the chief justice.”
Iowa Senator Chuck Grassley said, “If it’s the same name everybody else used, then it’s kind of out there.”
Trump has attacked the whistleblower on social media on numerous occasions.
Paul went the distance by mentioning the person’s name on the Senate floor, unlike his Republican colleagues in the Senate and House. When Paul attempted to have Roberts read his question during the inquiry phase of the trial, Roberts refused, saying, “The presiding officer declines to read the question.”
Per the Constitution, Paul’s own speech is protected on the Senate floor. In other words, “he can do whatever he wants on the floor,” commented Texas Senator John Cornyn.
However, some Republicans did try to distance themselves from Paul, who has built a reputation for his contrarian actions in the U.S. Senate.
“I still believe in whistleblower protection. I think the fact that the chief justice wouldn’t read it is an indicator of the sensitivity of it,” said West Virginia Senator Shelley Moore. “So I probably wouldn’t have done that.”
“I wouldn’t have done it,” stated Senator Mike Rounds. The South Dakota Senator claimed he would have voted against Paul if he had contested Roberts on the Senate floor. “I would have said that we’ve asked the chief justice by constitutional directive to oversee this and I’m going to respect his wishes.”
On Tuesday, Paul stated that he supports protections against reprisal for whistleblowers but he does not necessarily back anonymity.
“In the first month of [Trump’s] office, in January of 2017, they were already plotting the impeachment,” he claimed. “And you say ‘Well, we should protect the whistleblower, and the whistleblower deserves anonymity.’ The law does not preserve anonymity. His boss is not supposed to say anything about him, he’s not supposed to be fired. I’m for that.”
Back in August, the whistleblower filed a complaint with an intelligence community watchdog, Inspector General Michael Atkinson. The complaint, which cited alleged concerns within the Trump administration, contended that Trump was pressuring Ukraine’s president to conduct politically motivated investigations into Trump’s Democrat rivals.
It’s a bit disconcerting that Republicans are not enthusiastically getting behind Paul’s efforts.
Unlike most Republicans who pretend to be America First through their rhetoric, Paul makes the extra effort to defend Trump from all of the political establishment’s plots against him.
If there is one elected official who actually stands with Trump and goes out of his way to defend him, it’s Rand Paul.