Chief Justice Roberts Blocks Question From Sen. Paul About Ciaramella, Allows Question About Schiff Staffer

For the second day in a row, Chief Justice John Roberts refused to read a question submitted by Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) that mentioned the name of Eric Ciaramella, the alleged “whistleblower” at the center of the case who was outed by RealClearInvestigations.

Senators have been submitting questions to Roberts who asks them on behalf of the senators. The legal team and impeachment managers each have five minutes to respond to each question. On Wednesday, Roberts blocked Paul from posing a question that would have named the alleged whistleblower, as well.

After receiving Paul’s question card, Thursday afternoon, Roberts said, “The presiding officer declines to read the question as submitted.”

The Chief Justice did not explain why he rejected the question, which did not identify Ciaramella as the whistleblower.

The Kentucky senator took to Twitter to reveal what he had intended to ask:

“My exact question was: Are you aware that House intelligence committee staffer Shawn Misko had a close relationship with Eric Ciaramella while at the National Security Council together, and are you aware and how do you respond to reports that Ciaramella and Misko may have worked together to plot impeaching the President before there were formal house impeachment proceedings,” Paul wrote.

Paul took a break from the hearing to talk to the media. During the impromptu press gaggle, he argued that he had asked an “important question” that had made no reference to any “whistleblower.” He also told reporters that he didn’t clear the question with Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell before asking it.

The fact that the question wasn’t allowed, he argued, put the lie to the notion that House Intelligence Chairman Schiff [and the Chief Justice] didn’t know who the whistleblower was.

“The manager Schiff says he has no knowledge,” Paul explained. “If he has no knowledge, then the rest of us can have no knowledge of who the whistleblower is.”

The Whistleblower Protection Act does not  guarantee anonymity nor does it prohibits individuals, including lawmakers from asking questions about whistleblowers.

He added: “I think it’s very important whether or not a group of Democratic activists—part of the Obama/Biden administration—were working together for years looking for an opportunity to impeach the president.”

Rand also pointed out that there seems to be a “selective” respect for whistleblower protections among the elite.

“I’ve been one to say that Edward Snowden is the greatest whistleblower of all time,” he said. “Yet half of these people down here that say they support the whistleblower statute wanted to put Edward Snowden to death or in jail forever.”

“My question today is about whether or not individuals who were holdovers from the Obama National Security Council and Democrat partisans conspired with Schiff staffers to plot impeaching the President before there were formal House impeachment proceedings,” Paul tweeted. “My question is not about a ‘whistleblower’ as I have no independent information on his identity.”

Appalled by the Chief Justice’s censorship, the Federalist’s Sean Davis suggested in a tweet that he should be impeached for abuse of power.

Davis pointed out that Roberts, who was in charge of the FISA court, did nothing to prevent the FBI from spying on candidate Trump and his associates.

Later Thursday afternoon, Senators from both parties submitted a question that the Chief Justice did allow.

The senators asked about reports that former NSC staff Sean Misko was overheard telling the alleged whistleblower, “we need to do everything we can to take out the President” at an NSC meeting in January of 2017. They also referenced the allegation that Misco was friendly with Lt. Col. Alexander Vindman and the so-called whictleblower Ciaramella] “Why did your committee hire Sean Misko the day after the phone call between President Trump and Zelensky and what role has he played in your committee’s investigation?” the senators asked of Schiff.

The California congressman deflected the allegations by claiming victim status.

“First of all, there have been  a lot of attacks on my staff,” he began. “As I said when this issue came up earlier, I’m appalled at some of the smearing of some of the professional people that work for the Intelligence Committee.”

He characterized the reporting about Misko, Vindman and Ciarmella as “smears” and said that he wouldn’t dignify by answering. He went on to sermonize about the importance of protecting the whistleblower’s identity and chastise “the members of this body” who “gratuitously attacked” members of his committee.

“Now they take an unsubstantiated press article and use it to smear my staff,” he said, sounding very hurt and distressed. “I think that’s disgraceful. I think it’s disgraceful,” he added. “You know, whistleblowers are a unique … uh … and vital resource to the intelligence committee.”

He claimed that Ciarmella couldn’t go public with his information because it was classified, which is absurd because all of the details about Trump and Ukraine have been declassified.

Schiff went on to bluster that outing this “whistleblower,” would threaten “not only the whistleblower but the entire system.”

He claimed again, ludicrously, that he didn’t know who the whistleblower was, and argued that in the case of Trump the whistleblower “should be every one of us.”

“It’s really rich to hear Adam Schiff whining about relevant points being made about his staff when he has spent years pitching false smears about former Devin Nunes staffer Kashyap Patel to his allies in the Democrat media,” tweeted Matt Wolking, Deputy Director of Communications for the Trump Campaign.

About Debra Heine

Debra Heine is a conservative Catholic mom of six and longtime political pundit. She has written for several conservative news websites over the years, including Breitbart and PJ Media.

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