Republican Senator Rand Paul has demanded the media reveal the identity of the anonymous whistleblower who raised concerns about President Donald Trump’s contacts with Ukraine, leading to the initiation of the impeachment inquiry.
Appearing alongside the president at a campaign rally on Nov. 4, Paul said that Congress is now aware of the identity of the whistleblower but said that the media and lawmakers are yet to make the information public.
The Kentucky Republican referenced unconfirmed reports that the whistleblower worked for former Vice President, Joe Biden.
“We also now know the name of the whistleblower, and the whistleblower needs to come before Congress as a material witness because he worked for Joe Biden at the same time that Hunter Biden was getting money from corrupt oligarchs,” Paul said.
During his speech, Paul also called upon Congress to defend the president in the ongoing impeachment investigation.
The investigation, led by Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff, is centered on a July 25 phone call between Trump and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky in which Trump is accused by the whistleblower of coercing Zelensky to investigate corruption allegations involving Hunter Biden and his father, Trump’s rival presidential candidate and former Vice President Joe Biden.
The call has also been linked to earlier action by Trump to block millions in military aid from being released to Ukraine.
Paul told the crowd: “President Trump has great courage. He faces down the fake media every day. But Congress needs to step up and have equal courage to defend the president.
“I say this to my fellow colleagues in Congress, to every Republican in Washington, ‘Step up and subpoena Hunter Biden and subpoena the whistleblower!’” he said.
Paul later took to Twitter where he again called on Congress to bring both Hunter Biden and the whistleblower to court.
I call on Congress to have the courage to immediately subpoena both Hunter Biden and the whistleblower!
— Senator Rand Paul (@RandPaul) November 5, 2019
“I call on Congress to have the courage to immediately subpoena both Hunter Biden and the whistleblower!” he posted.
In a statement to The Hill, whistleblower’s attorney Mark Zaid suggested that Paul was “betray[ing] the interests of the Constitution and the American people” in calling for the whistleblower to be publicly named.
“A member of Congress who calls for the identity of any lawful whistleblower to be publicly revealed against their wishes disgraces the office they hold and betrays the interests of the Constitution and the American people,” he said.
Zaid earlier released a statement with the whistleblower’s second attorney, Andrew Bakaj, saying that their client is “legally entitled to anonymity” and that identification “places that individual and their family in great physical danger.”
New statement from the whistleblower’s attorneys: “We neither confirm nor deny the identity of the Intelligence Community Whistleblower. Our client is legally entitled to anonymity.” Adds that revealing identity is the “pinnacle of irresponsibility and is intentionally reckless.” pic.twitter.com/wy1iIJ8T3T
— Yamiche Alcindor (@Yamiche) October 31, 2019
Congressional Republicans like Paul have supported Trump’s calls for the whistleblower to come forward.
Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) said that if “the whistleblowers’ allegations are turned into an impeachment article, it’s imperative that the whistleblower be interviewed in public, under oath, and cross-examined.”
Meanwhile, Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa), who has drafted legislation on protections on whistleblowers, said it’s “strictly” up to the whistleblower to decide whether to come forward or not.
“A person like me that has advocated for whistleblowers for a long period of time, including this whistleblower, I want maximum protection for whistleblowers,” he said.
Trump denies the whistleblower’s allegations, maintaining that they have provided “false information,” calling the impeachment probe against him the “greatest witch hunt in the history of our country.”
Trump disagreed with the notion of having the whistleblower answer questions in writing.
Trump wrote on Twitter on early Sunday: “He (the whistleblower) must be brought forward to testify. Written answers not acceptable! Where is the 2nd Whistleblower? He disappeared after I released the transcript. Does he even exist? Where is the informant? Con!”
Meanwhile, Tim Morrison, a senior official who listened in on the Trump–Zelensky call, has since testified that he “was not concerned that anything illegal was discussed.”
He said under oath that the Ukrainians didn’t know about the hold on aid until the news was leaked to the media on Aug. 28 after the infamous phone call.