Rand Paul warns he could oppose impeachment trial rules if it limits witnesses

Sen. Rand PaulRandal (Rand) Howard Paul Democratic debate at Tyler Perry's could miss the mark with black voters RNC says ex-Trump ambassador nominee's efforts 'to link future contributions to an official action' were 'inappropriate' GOP divided over impeachment trial strategy MORE (R-Ky.) warned on Thursday that he could oppose a resolution establishing rules for a likely impeachment trial if it limits witnesses and blocks the whistleblower from being called to testify. 
 
"I'm all in favor of the president calling Joe BidenJoe BidenMost Americans break with Trump on Ukraine, but just 45 percent think he should be removed: poll Democrats release two new transcripts ahead of next public impeachment hearings Press: Ukraine's not the only outrage MORE, Hunter Biden and the whistleblower. ... I'd advise Republicans not to participate in anything that doesn't allow defense witnesses," Paul told reporters on Thursday. 
 
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Asked if he would vote against a resolution that didn't include calling the whistleblower, Paul said that he would. 
 
The senator's comments come as he's made waves this week, calling for the identity of the whistleblower, who is at the center of the House impeachment inquiry, to be publicly disclosed. 
 
Trump and some of his allies are also adopting this approach to combat the impeachment proceedings, calling for the whistleblower's name to become public. The president and his supporters argue that it would allow the president to confront his accuser and help disclose any potential biases or political motivations of the individual. 
 
Paul, during a Monday rally with Trump in Kentucky, called on the media to publish the name of the whistleblower. The next day he told reporters that he "probably will" disclose the name. 
 
A push to call the whistleblower as part of the impeachment trial would likely complicate the ability for Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellFeehery: Pivoting to infrastructure could help heal post-impeachment wounds McConnell urges Trump to voice support for Hong Kong protesters Key GOP senator: 'We need a breakthrough' on spending talks MORE (R-Ky.) and Senate Minority Leader Charles SchumerCharles (Chuck) Ellis SchumerSenate Democrats unveil priorities for federal privacy bill Overnight Health Care: Trump officials making changes to drug pricing proposal | House panel advances flavored e-cig ban | Senators press FDA tobacco chief on vaping ban Chad Wolf becomes acting DHS secretary MORE (D-N.Y.) to get a deal on the process for an impeachment trial. 
 
"I think it's so partisan ... that I don't know how we get together on rules," Paul said about the chances for a deal, but added that he would "cooperate" if senators were allowed to make motions and both sides were able to call witnesses.
 
McConnell and Schumer haven't yet started negotiating on the eventual rules for an impeachment trial and some senators are skeptical they'll be able to reach an agreement given the increasingly partisan nature of Congress. 
 
The Senate during the Clinton impeachment trial passed a resolution 100-0 that established the procedure for filing motions, how long senators would get to ask questions and how witnesses would be called.
 
But the resolution didn't specify which witnesses should be called. 
 
second, separate resolution passed by the Senate during the Clinton impeachment trial on witnesses broke down along party lines. The resolution specifically allowed for subpoenas for Monica Lewinsky, Sidney Blumenthal and Vernon Jordan Jr. to testify as part of the trial.
 
The Clinton-era resolution only needed a simple majority to pass the chamber, meaning in a similar circumstance today McConnell could push a motion through without Democratic support if he keeps most of his 53-member caucus on board. 
 
But in addition to alienating Democrats, a demand to include the whistleblower would likely face pushback from several GOP senators who have said they oppose publicly disclosing the individual's name.