Spineless libertarian and neighborhood punching bag Rand Paul had quite a day at the Senate impeachment trial on Thursday. Like many Republican senators, he’s not a big fan of the secrecy surrounding the whistleblower who first made the complaint against Donald Trump in what has become the Ukraine scandal, and indeed seems not to support anonymity for whistleblowers in general. For someone like that, knowing the identify of the person is dangerous information, and unfortunately that knowledge is now in Paul’s hands. As such, he tried to get Justice John Roberts, who is presiding over the trial, to read the witnesses name. Per WaPo:
Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. on Thursday declined to read a question submitted by Paul, in which the Kentucky Republican sought to name a person who conservative media outlets have alleged is the whistle-blower whose anonymous complaint launched the impeachment inquiry. “The presiding officer declines to read the question as submitted,” Roberts said of Paul’s question, which also included the name of a Schiff staffer. Paul has repeatedly demanded that the media unmask the alleged whistle-blower. Federal whistle-blowers are offered limited protections from retaliation.
Thus stymied, he held a press conference where he named the “possible” whistleblower as well as that man’s friend/acquaintance who works with the House Intelligence Committee. Then, in case anyone missed it, he tweeted out the name. This led to instant support from some of the dumbest people in Washington:
At the root of Paul’s allegation is that this is one big Democratic plot, since the whistleblower was a holdover from Obama’s National Security Council and the staffer had connections with Adam Schiff. None of which, of course, matters when it comes to the merits of the case.
Infuriated at Roberts’ refusal, Paul walked out of the Senate trial, and the hashtag #ArrestRandPaul began trending after he named the whistleblower.