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Rand Paul Is Really Mad He Couldn’t Use the Impeachment Trial to Out the Whistleblower

Not for lack of trying.

Senator Rand Paul has a pouty face.

For the last few days, we’ve been in the part of Donald Trump’s impeachment trial where the House Managers and Trump’s legal team answer questions. The way that works is that Senators submit written questions to Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts, who reads them aloud.

Roberts has had to read some pretty inane questions. Many are full of blatantly partisan language, like one from Sens. Kevin Cramer and Todd Young that referred to Trump as an “innocent defendant.” For the most part, Roberts has kept his poker face on tight, not giving any indication of his feelings on the questions–even when he got a question so over the line that he refused to read it.

Rand Paul of Kentucky submitted a question to Chief Justice Roberts that reportedly contained the name of the whistleblower whose complaint kicked off the entire impeachment inquiry. Roberts refused to read it because of course he did. The identity of the whistleblower is legally protected and for good reasons, starting with the fact that Donald Trump has repeatedly threatened retaliation for their complaint.

This isn’t the first time Paul has called for the whistleblower’s identity to be revealed. He joined Trump for a rally back in November where he demanded the media release their name. He also tried to ask Chief Justice Roberts the same question Wednesday night (or possibly a different question that also included the whistleblower’s name) and Roberts responded the exact same way as he did Thursday morning.

All of this is especially weird coming from Paul, a man who once received an award for advocating for whistleblower protections. How quickly these lawmakers will sell out their core beliefs for a little Trump approval.

After Roberts refused to read his question (again), Paul walked out of the chamber to complain to reporters instead.

“I think this is an important question, one that deserves to be asked, and makes no reference to anybody who may or may not be a whistleblower,” Paul told reporters. According to multiple reporters, though, the question, which he read to them, did include the name of the alleged whistleblower, as well as another individual.

Paul also tweeted his question, complete with names. He maintained that he wasn’t outing the alleged whistleblower because “I have no independent information on his identity,” which multiple reporters have refuted.

“My question is about the actions of known Obama partisans within the NSC and House staff and how they are reported to have conspired before impeachment proceedings had even begun,” he wrote on Twitter.

If Trump isn’t removed from office, Rand Paul’s arrest/eviction from the Senate wouldn’t be the worst consolation prize.

(image: Drew Angerer/Getty Images)

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Vivian Kane (she/her) has a lot of opinions about a lot of things. Born in San Francisco and radicalized in Los Angeles, she now lives in Kansas City, Missouri with her husband Brock Wilbur and too many cats.