Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) told reporters on Tuesday that there is nothing stopping him from revealing the name of the so-called “whistleblower” who filed a complaint against President Trump, and that he “probably will at some point.”
When a reporter told him that it was “illegal to out a whistleblower,” Paul gently corrected her.
“No, you see, you’ve got that wrong too,” he said.
“No I don’t!” she shot back.
“You should work on the facts,” Paul insisted. “The Whistleblower Statute protects the whistleblower from having his name revealed by the inspector general. Even the New York Times admits that no one else is under any legal obligation,” he explained.
Paul cautioned the reporter to be “very careful” about reporting this story, saying “the whistleblower actually is a material witness completely separate from being the whistleblower because he worked for Joe Biden.”
The Kentucky senator added: “He worked for Joe Biden at the same time Hunter Biden was receiving $50,000 a month. So the investigation into Hunter Biden involves this whistleblower because he was there at the time. Did he bring up the conflict of interest?” he asked.
“What was his involvement with the relationship between Joe Biden and the prosecutor? he added. “There’s a lot of questions that the whistleblower needs to answer.”
Question: "The whistleblower laws protect the whistleblower. You know it's illegal to out a whistleblower?"
— The Hill (@thehill) November 5, 2019
Later, during an interview with Fox News’ Bret Baier Tuesday evening, Paul refused to back down, saying again that he “may” disclose the name of the anti-Trump complainant who has been identified online as Eric Ciaramella, 33, a career CIA analyst.
Ciaramella’s attorneys have said that he is “legally entitled to anonymity” and that identification “places that individual and their family in great physical danger.”
When Baier asked Paul to respond to attorney Andrew Bakaj, who recently said that disclosing the whistleblower’s name would “jeopardize” his safety, Paul pointed out that he is no stranger to political violence.
“You know, I don’t wish harm on anyone,” Paul began. “I’ve been the victim of political violence, not once, but twice. I was there at the ball field when Steve Scalise was almost killed. A staff member was 10 feet from me who was shot. I had six of my ribs broken by a hater of President Trump. So I know what political violence is all about. I don’t want that at all.”
Paul added that the statute only says the inspector general can’t reveal the name. “There’s nothing that prevents me from saying it now.”
Paul told Baier that he had so far refrained from saying the name because he wanted to keep the focus on the process.
“I want it to be more about the process and less about the person,” Paul argued. “Nothing stops me. There’s no law that stops me from doing it other than that I don’t want to make it about the one individual.”
Democrats have used the anti-Trump whistleblower’s complaint about Trump’s phone call with Ukraine President Zelensky as a pretext to conduct an impeachment “inquiry” into the president’s actions.
When asked why he hasn’t revealed the name on the Senate floor, Paul said, “I can, and I may, but I can do it right now if I want. Nothing stops me.” Paul said whistleblowers should be protected from being fired, but not from being anonymous.
As for the substance of the whistleblower’s complaint against Trump, Paul pointed out the gross hypocrisy and projection of Democrat senators. “I’ve discovered that everybody seems to want to influence the aid to Ukraine,” he noted. “Biden said ‘we’ll cut it off if you don’t fire this prosecutor,’ [NJ Sen. Bob] Menendez said, ‘if you don’t keep investigating Trump, we’ll cut off your aid,’ [CT. Sen. Chris] ‘Murphy was there a month ago and he said “if you investigate Hunter Biden, we’ll get rid of your aid.”
Paul added: Seems like everybody on both sides of the aisle have been threatening Ukrainian aide and if I’d been on the phone, I would have said ‘you don’t get any because we don’t have any money.'”
Monday night, during a rousing speech at Trump’s rally in Lexington, Kentucky, Paul called on the media to do its job and print the whistleblower’s name.
“We also now know the name of the whistleblower. The whistleblower needs to come forward as a material witness because he worked for Joe Biden at the same time Hunter Biden was getting money from corrupt oligarchs,” Paul said. “I say tonight to the media, do your job and print his name,” Paul told the crowd to loud cheers.
President Trump also urged reporters over the weekend to reveal the name of the anti-Trump complainant because he gave “a very inaccurate report about my phone call.” The whistleblower’s complaint was found to contain a number of blatant falsehoods.
“My phone call was perfecto!” Trump told reporters on the White House lawn, Sunday. “The whistleblower should be revealed because he gave false stories,” the president added.