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Law & the Courts

YouTube Removes Clip of Rand Paul Speaking on Senate Floor, Citing Concern He Named Ukraine Whistleblower

Sen. Rand Paul (Gage Skidmore)

YouTube removed a clip of Senator Rand Paul (R., Ky.) speaking on the Senate floor, in which he asked why Chief Justice John Roberts had blocked a question of his, which some have speculated contained the name of the Ukraine whistleblower.

Paul told Politico Playbook that the tech platform’s decision was “dangerous and politically biased,” and denied knowing who the whistleblower was. “Nowhere in my speech did I accuse anyone of being a whistleblower,” he stated.

“It is a chilling and disturbing day in America when giant web companies such as YouTube decide to [censor] speech. Now, even protected speech, such as that of a senator on the Senate floor, can be blocked from getting to the American people,” Paul added.

YouTube told Politico that the decision was part of a larger effort to purge the name from the platform, and said that the company had already deleted “hundreds of videos and over ten thousand comments that contained the name.”

“Videos, comments, and other forms of content that mention the leaked whistleblower’s name violate YouTube’s Community Guidelines and will be removed from YouTube,” YouTube spokeswoman Ivy Choi said. She added that uploaders had “the option” to edit the name out of their footage and re-upload.

After Roberts — who was tasked with reading aloud questions submitted by senators during the impeachment trial — refused to read Paul’s question on January 29, Paul submitted a second question the next day, and left the trial to hold an impromptu press conference after Roberts blocked the question a second time.

“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,” Paul said, claiming his question had nothing to do with the whistleblower.

“I’m the biggest defender of the whistleblower statutes,” Paul added, but argued that Democrats “shouldn’t be able to use statutes to somehow make a whole part of the discussion over this impeachment go away.”

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