YouTube removes video of Rand Paul reading alleged whistleblower's name on Senate floor

YouTube removes video of Rand Paul reading alleged whistleblower's name on Senate floor
© Greg Nash

YouTube has removed a video from its platform that shows Sen. Rand PaulRandal (Rand) Howard PaulSenate braces for fight over impeachment whistleblower testimony Pelosi names first-ever House whistleblower ombudsman director The Hill's Morning Report — AG Barr, GOP senators try to rein Trump in MORE (R-Ky.) stating on the Senate floor the name of a person who conservative media have suggested is the whistleblower whose complaint triggered the impeachment inquiry of President TrumpDonald John TrumpRussian sanctions will boomerang States, cities rethink tax incentives after Amazon HQ2 backlash A Presidents Day perspective on the nature of a free press MORE.

The company, home to millions of hours of video content, said in a statement  on Thursday that “videos, comments, and other forms of content that mention the leaked whistleblower’s name" violate its community guidelines and will be removed from the site. 

"We’ve removed hundreds of videos and over ten thousand comments that contained the name. Video uploaders have the option to edit their videos to exclude the name and reupload," Ivy Choi, a spokesperson, said in the statement, which was first reported by Politico. 

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The video clip removed by YouTube comes from the Senate impeachment trial, when Paul mentioned a name that has circulated in conservative media as the whistleblower. Paul did so after Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts declined to read a question he submitted including that person's name.

Paul says he does not know if the name he said on the Senate floor is the whistleblower's or not, but he said it was wrong for his speech to be censored.

“It is a chilling and disturbing day in America when giant web companies such as YouTube decide to censure speech," he said in a statement. "Now, even protected speech, such as that of a senator on the Senate floor, can be blocked from getting to the American people. This is dangerous and politically biased. Nowhere in my speech did I accuse anyone of being a whistleblower, nor do I know the whistleblower’s identity."

No media outlets have publicly confirmed the name of the whistleblower. It is also the policy of The Associated Press and other major news outlets not to disseminate the identity of whistleblowers, who enjoy federal protections against retaliation.

Trump and Republicans repeatedly called for the whistleblower to testify as lawmakers moved forward with an investigation into the president's dealings with Ukraine.

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Democrats argued such testimony was unnecessary since the whistleblower's charges were largely if not entirely confirmed by public documents and public testimony by other witnesses. 

Speaking at a Trump campaign rally in November, Paul demanded that the media print the name of the alleged whistleblower.

Updated at 11:43 a.m.