The Kentucky senator wants the media to identify the whistleblower who flagged Trump's July 25 phone call with Ukraine.
Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) wants the media to publicly identify the whistleblower who raised concerns about Donald Trump's July 25 phone call with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky.
"I say tonight to the media: do your job and print his name," Paul said before a crowd in Kentucky on Monday night.
Paul told the crowd that "we also now know the name of the whistleblower."
Members of Congress are strongly discouraged from identifying whistleblowers, which might threaten their safety, according to a May 2019 Government Accountability Office (GAO) report.
When a whistleblower comes forward, the GAO report advises, members of Congress should discuss with them "the potential of their disclosure being shared publicly" and work to "ensure that the whistleblower approves sharing their information with others." It states that, for "those whistleblowers who do not want to share their identity," lawmakers should "ask if they have colleagues who would be comfortable speaking to the issue."
Trump and Republicans in Congress have regularly attacked the whistleblower, who has thus far chosen to remain anonymous. Trump has already called the the whistleblower a "spy" and suggested they were a traitor who should be executed.
The whistleblower's legal team has also received death threats serious enough to engage law enforcement.
Since the whistleblower first filed their complaint, numerous administration officials have confirmed many of the concerns raised in the report, including those who heard the Trump-Zelensky call for themselves.
An early October analysis by CNN noted that "the overwhelming majority of allegations in the complaint have been corroborated by official government documents, Trump’s public statements, and news reporting."
The whistleblower, who was not on that call but heard about it from others, said they were alarmed to learn Trump had pressured Zelensky to help dig up dirt on his 2020 rival, former Vice President Joe Biden. Trump and his associates have also pressured Ukraine to investigate a long-debunked conspiracy about the DNC email servers.
Acting White House chief of staff Mick Mulvaney confirmed in a press conference last month that Trump had withheld crucial aid to Ukraine to secure such investigations, but later attempted to walk back his comments, saying he had not meant what he said.
The House of Representatives has opened an impeachment inquiry into Trump's actions with regard to Ukraine and recently voted to formalize the process, as Republicans had requested for weeks. None of the House Republicans voted in favor of the measure.
Mark Zaid, the whistleblower's attorney, was displeased with Paul's demand Monday night, telling The Hill that any member of Congress demanding to unmask a lawful whistleblower "disgraces the office they hold and betrays the interests of the Constitution and the American people."
In a late October op-ed for the Washington Post, Zaid wrote that exposing the identity of the whistleblower would put "that individual and their family at risk of harm." Additionally, "it would deter future whistleblowers from coming forward in subsequent administrations, Democratic or Republican."
As CNN noted Tuesday, back in 2014, Paul spoke before a "libertarian-leaning" audience in Florida, via video feed, and said he wanted to expand protections for whistleblowers to government contractors such as former CIA subcontractor Edward Snowden.
"We’ve got so many millions of government contractors that when they see something wrong, they should be able to report it without repercussions," he said at the time.
Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.