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

Sen. Rand PaulRandal (Rand) Howard PaulLoeffler isolating after possible COVID-19 infection Rick Scott tests positive for coronavirus Overnight Defense: Formal negotiations inch forward on defense bill with Confederate base name language | Senators look to block B UAE arms sales | Trump administration imposes Iran sanctions over human rights abuses 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 John TrumpBiden to nominate Linda Thomas-Greenfield for UN ambassador: reports Scranton dedicates 'Joe Biden Way' to honor president-elect Kasich: Republicans 'either in complete lockstep' or 'afraid' of Trump 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 LeeLoeffler isolating after possible COVID-19 infection Rick Scott tests positive for coronavirus OVERNIGHT ENERGY: Barrasso to seek top spot on Energy and Natural Resources Committee | Forest Service finalizes rule weakening environmental review of its projects | Biden to enlist Agriculture, Transportation agencies in climate fight MORE (Utah), Ted CruzRafael (Ted) Edward CruzMcSally, staff asked to break up maskless photo op inside Capitol Capitol's COVID-19 spike could be bad Thanksgiving preview Republican senators urge Trump to label West Bank goods as 'Made in Israel' MORE (Texas) and Josh HawleyJoshua (Josh) David HawleyDemocrats brush off calls for Biden to play hardball on Cabinet picks Rush Limbaugh lauds Hawley: 'This guy is the real deal' Trump told advisers he could announce 2024 bid shortly after certification of Biden win: report 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: Save jobs and stabilize the aerospace industry Lobbying world This World Suicide Prevention Day, let's recommit to protecting the lives of our veterans MORE (R-Kan.) asked the House managers if the whistleblower worked for or with former Vice President Joe BidenJoe BidenBiden to nominate Linda Thomas-Greenfield for UN ambassador: reports Scranton dedicates 'Joe Biden Way' to honor president-elect Kasich: Republicans 'either in complete lockstep' or 'afraid' of Trump 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 ThuneDemocrats brush off calls for Biden to play hardball on Cabinet picks Overnight Defense: Pentagon set for tighter virus restrictions as top officials tests positive | Military sees 11th COVID-19 death | House Democrats back Senate language on Confederate base names Trump keeps tight grip on GOP amid divisions 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 GrahamMedia and Hollywood should stop their marching-to-Georgia talk Hackers love a bad transition The Hill's Campaign Report: Trump campaign files for Wis. recount l Secretaries of state fume at Trump allegations l Biden angered over transition delay 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.