WASHINGTON, D.C. – It was a remarkable moment in President Donald Trump’s impeachment trial.
Last Thursday, Chief Justice John Roberts refused to read Senator Rand Paul’s question out of concern it named the suspected whistleblower whose complaint led to the historic charge of misconduct.
“Would it be important if six different people who all worked together in the National Security Council were actually plotting to try to impeach the President, that this wasn’t a spontaneous event? These are questions that should be asked and that’s why it should be investigated,” said Senator Paul in an interview with Spectrum News 1 in his Washington office.
At a Kentucky rally in November, Paul called for the media to start publicly reporting the whistleblower’s name.
It was part of a full throated defense of Trump that also included threatening his Republican colleagues with tough votes if they sided with Democrats in the call for witnesses.
When asked if he saw how his comments could be viewed as a departure from his longtime position of supporting whistlelblowers, Paul said, “I’m a huge defender of the whistleblower statute. I don’t think anybody should be fired or have any retribution but the statues actually don’t command anonymity. You don’t get to make your complaints without your name coming forward.”
Historically Paul has also raised concerns about executive overreach, notably critiquing President Obama for acting like a king.
Paul says Trump’s claims of executive privilege in the impeachment were legitimate.
“The President’s team made a legal defense. They said well we believe that executive privilege applies here. This is exactly what Clinton did. It’s exactly what President Obama did. Most every president has asserted what’s called executive privilege. It’s a constitutional privilege and then it gets adjudicated by the court,” said Paul.