As President Trump’s Senate impeachment trial dragged on for another week, senators had the opportunity to formally ask questions of the opposing side.
However, one of them was apparently too controversial to allow as it referenced the name of the alleged Ukraine call “whistleblower.”
Roberts censures Paul’s question
Senators were allowed to submit questions in writing to Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts, who read them aloud. Yet that didn’t happen when Kentucky Republican Rand Paul (R-KY) asked the following question, revealed to Breitbart News after the fact:
Manager Schiff and Counsel for the President, are you aware that House Intelligence Committee staffer Shawn Misko had a close relationship with Eric Ciaramella when at the National Security Council together, and are you aware and how do you respond to reports that Ciaramella and Misko may have worked together to plot impeaching the President before there were formal House impeachment proceedings?
Roberts didn’t like what Rand had to say, refusing to read the question on the grounds that it named Ciaramella, who has been alleged by some to be the so-called Ukraine “whistleblower.”
Controversy over naming the whistleblower
Roberts’ reason for doing so isn’t entirely clear. There is no law prohibiting mention of the individual’s name, a fact that Reuters and other news agencies have reported.
“That provision says the inspector general should not disclose the whistleblower’s identity without their consent, unless the watchdog determines that ‘such disclosure is unavoidable during the course of the investigation,'” Reuters said in November.
“Once the complaint is out of the inspector general’s hands the law does little to guarantee the whistleblower anonymity, said McClanahan, the executive director of National Security Counselors, a public interest law firm.”
As Breitbart explained, California Democrat Jackie Speier even confirmed this fact by reading part of an article from the Washington Post into the Congressional record.
“That appears to be the lone statutory restriction on disclosing a whistleblower’s identity, applicable only to the inspector general’s office. We found no court rulings on whether whistleblowers have a right to anonymity under the ICWPA or related statutes,” the passage said.
Rand was quick to point out on Twitter that he didn’t ask a question about the whistleblower in the first place.
“My question today is about whether or not individuals who were holdovers from the Obama National Security Council and Democrat partisans conspired with Schiff staffers to plot impeaching the President before there were formal House impeachment proceedings,” the Kentucky senator noted.
“My question is not about a ‘whistleblower’ as I have no independent information on his identity. 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,” Paul said.