Rand Paul to 'insist' on whistleblower question blocked by John Roberts

Sen. Rand PaulRandal (Rand) Howard PaulSenate lawmakers let frustration show with Blinken Rand Paul: 'Hatred for Trump' blocking research into ivermectin as COVID-19 treatment Masks and vaccines: What price freedom? MORE (R-Ky.) on Thursday will try to force Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts to read out loud a question regarding the anonymous whistleblower at the center of the impeachment inquiry.

Paul’s strategy, outlined on Twitter by his spokesman, will escalate a standoff between the two men on the Senate floor after much behind-the-scenes haggling.

“Senator Paul will insist on his question being asked during today’s trial. Uncertain of what will occur on the Senate floor, but American people deserve to know how this all came about,” Sergio Gor, a spokesman for Paul, tweeted.

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Paul’s office indicated in a subsequent release that they were unsure whether the effort would be successful, but said “Paul believes it is crucial the American people get the full story on what started the Democrats’ push to impeach President Donald Trump.”

A source confirmed Wednesday that Roberts has indicated he would not read a question from Paul regarding the whistleblower.

The question from Paul is expected to name the individual. Because Roberts is responsible for reading the questions aloud, that would put him in the position of publicly outing the person on the floor of the Senate.

The whistleblower has been a focus of GOP criticism for months, with President TrumpDonald TrumpFormer Sen. Heller to run for Nevada governor Overnight Defense & National Security — Milley becomes lightning rod Joint Chiefs Chairman Milley becomes lightning rod on right MORE last year saying the individual was "close to a spy."

Conservatives used a series of questions on Wednesday to try to shed new information on the whistleblower.

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GOP Sens. Mike LeeMichael (Mike) Shumway LeeEconomy adds just 235K jobs in August as delta hammers growth Lawmakers flooded with calls for help on Afghanistan exit Afghanistan fiasco proves we didn't leave soon enough MORE (Utah), Ted CruzRafael (Ted) Edward CruzThe Hill's Morning Report - Presented by National Industries for the Blind - Schumer: Dem unity will happen eventually; Newsom prevails The Memo: Like the dress or not, Ocasio-Cortez is driving the conversation again Ocasio-Cortez defends attendance of Met Gala amid GOP uproar MORE (Texas) and Josh HawleyJoshua (Josh) David HawleyOvernight Defense & National Security — Milley becomes lightning rod Joint Chiefs Chairman Milley becomes lightning rod on right Hawley pledges to slow walk Biden's Pentagon, State picks over messy Afghanistan exit MORE (Mo.) asked for details on who the whistleblower might have worked with.

Roughly 50 minutes later, Cruz, Hawley and Sen. Jerry MoranGerald (Jerry) MoranIt's time for Congress to act before slow mail turns into no mail Kaine says he has votes to pass Iraq War repeal in Senate Seven-figure ad campaign urges GOP to support infrastructure bill MORE (R-Kan.) asked the House managers if the whistleblower worked for or with former Vice President Joe BidenJoe BidenOvernight Defense & National Security — Milley becomes lightning rod Democrats hope Biden can flip Manchin and Sinema On The Money — Presented by Wells Fargo — Democrats advance tax plan through hurdles MORE.

None of those questions revealed the individual's identity. 

Some GOP senators indicated they were not supportive of questions that would name the whistleblower.

Sen. John ThuneJohn Randolph ThuneManchin-McConnell meet amid new voting rights push Republican leaders misjudged Jan. 6 committee A tale of two chambers: Trump's power holds in House, wanes in Senate MORE (S.D.), the No. 2 Republican senator, suggested that GOP leadership had not been involved in rejecting questions, but that he did not expect the whistleblower to be named on the floor during the impeachment trial.

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"I don't think that happens, and I guess I would hope that it doesn't," he told reporters Wednesday.

Sen. Lindsey GrahamLindsey Olin GrahamOvernight Defense & National Security — Milley becomes lightning rod Joint Chiefs Chairman Milley becomes lightning rod on right GOP senators unveil bill designating Taliban as terrorist organization MORE (R-S.C.) told reporters on Thursday that he didn’t think the impeachment trial was the setting for Paul’s whistleblower fight. 

“Not in this environment,” he said, asked if he thought the question was a good idea.