After his question was blocked by Chief Justice John Roberts during impeachment proceedings on Thursday, Senator Rand Paul pushed back against speculation that the question named the Ukraine whistleblower, telling reporters it merely addressed the role of two partisan staffers who he believes may have coordinated President Trump’s impeachment.
Roberts declined to read the question Paul submitted, apparently because it named the alleged whistleblower, a member of the intelligence community who filed a formal complaint about President Trump’s handling of U.S. military aid to Ukraine.
Before filing the complaint, the anonymous whistleblower reportedly told a House Intelligence Committee aide that he was concerned about Trump’s behavior during a July phone call with the Ukrainian president, and the aide passed that information to committee chairman Adam Schiff.
“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,” Paul wrote on Twitter.
“My question is not about a ‘whistleblower’ as I have no independent information on his identity,” Paul claimed.
Sen. @RandPaul: "It's very important whether or not a group of Democratic activists part of the Obama, Biden administration were working together for years looking for an opportunity to impeach the president." https://t.co/e0kl6NUKFH pic.twitter.com/TAnetrmc40
— The Hill (@thehill) January 30, 2020
However, the NSC staffer mentioned in Paul’s question has been floated as the alleged whistleblower by a number of media outlets and some lawmakers. Paul asked whether Roberts was aware that the Intelligence Committee staffer and individual suspected as the whistleblower may have plotted to impeach Trump before there were formal House impeachment proceedings.
“I think this is an important question, one that deserves to be asked,” Paul said afterwards at a press conference. “I think it’s very important whether or not a group of Democratic activists, part of the Obama-Biden administration were working together for years looking for an opportunity to impeach the president.”
“I’m the biggest defender of the whistleblower statutes,” Paul said, but he added that, “You shouldn’t be able to use statutes to somehow make a whole part of the discussion over this impeachment go away.”
Democrats, Paul charged, have a “selective” belief in protecting whistleblowers.