Republicans keep trying to out the alleged whistleblower amid warnings


Chief Justice John Roberts blocked Sen. Rand Paul from having the alleged whistleblower's name read during Trump's impeachment trial this week.

Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) was reportedly frustrated with Chief Justice John Roberts this week after Roberts refused to read one of Paul's questions during the Senate impeachment trial because it outed the name of the alleged whistleblower, according to CNN.

According to the outlet, Roberts — who is overseeing the impeachment trial of Donald Trump — warned senators that he would not read any questions that included the name or identifying characteristics of the alleged whistleblower.

Paul, however, still tried to do just that, submitting a question that included the name of the person Republicans allege submitted the complaint that led to Trump's impeachment. Because Roberts could screen questions beforehand, Paul's question was not asked as part of the trial.

"If I have to fight for recognition, I will," Paul was overheard telling a Republican aide on the Senate floor on Wednesday, according to CNN's report.

Republicans have tried but have been warned not to out the name of the alleged whistleblower, who sounded the alarm about Trump's attempt to pressure Ukraine to investigate his political rival, former Vice President Joe Biden.

The Whistleblower Protection Act prohibits retaliation against government employees who sound the alarm about possible mismanagement or federal rules violations, though experts note it is not a crime to out them to the public. Still, NPR notes, members of Congress who do reveal a whistleblower's identity "could be removed from committees or face other legislative sanctions."

During the House impeachment inquiry, Rep. Adam Schiff (D-CA) told GOP lawmakers that speaking the name of the whistleblower would earn them an investigation by the House Ethics Committee.

Now, Roberts is wielding his control over the impeachment trial process to protect the alleged whistleblower's identity.

Still, GOP lawmakers and Trump officials have ignored those warnings.

On Wednesday, a Trump campaign official tweeted the name of the alleged whistleblower. The staffer, Matt Wolking, brushed off concern about his decision, replying to CNN's Jake Tapper, who had noted what Wolking had done, writing, "So? At [@] me next time please."

Paul, for his part,  says he will continue to try to out the whistleblower on Thursday, when the Senate meets for the second and final day of questioning in Trump's impeachment trial.

"It's still an ongoing process" Paul said Wednesday night, according to CNN, adding that the question "may happen tomorrow."

Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.