“If I Have To Fight For Recognition, I Will”: Paul and Roberts On Collision Course Over Whistleblower Questions [UPDATED]

Yesterday’s question and answer period was a largely choreographed exercise with legal teams spontaneously responding to questions with preset video clips and visual displays. However, there was one major but largely overlooked moment that raises some serious issues over the authority of the presiding officer vis-a-vis the Senate. In the midst of the questions, Robert spiked a question from Sen. Rand Paul (R, Ky). It concerned the whistleblower and the underlying legal premise for barring the question could prove controversial today. UPDATE: Roberts again refused to read the question of Sen. Paul. After the Chief Justice refused to ask his question, Rand walked out of the Senate.

Sen. Paul appears to have delivered a question to Roberts that would have named the alleged whistleblower. Roberts had indicated that he was going to disallow questions on the whistleblowers but he was reportedly deterred from that course by the threat of being overruled by the Senate. He allowed general questions about the whistleblower by preventing Paul from asking his question. Paul reportedly pledged to revisit the issue today and was overheard by reporter Niels Lesniewski in saying “I don’t want to have to stand up to try and fight for recognition . . . “If I have to fight for recognition, I will.”

This creates a fascinating conflict. Federal law does not guarantee anonymity of such whistleblowers in Congress — only protection from retaliation. Conversely, the presiding officer rarely stands in the path of senators seeking clarification or information from the legal teams. Paul could name the whistleblower on the floor without violation federal law. Moreover, the Justice Department offered a compelling analysis that the whistleblower complaint was not in fact covered by the intelligence law (the reason for the delay in reporting the matter to Congress). The Justice Department’s Office of Legal Counsel found that the complaint did not meet the legal definition of “urgent” because it treated the call between Trump and a head of state was if the president were an employee of the intelligence community. The OLC found that the call “does not relate to ‘the funding administration, or operation of an intelligence activity’ under the authority of the Director of National Intelligence . . . As a result, the statute does not require the Director to transmit the complaint to the congressional intelligence committees.” The Council of the Inspectors General on Integrity and Efficiency Council strongly disagree with that reading.

Regardless of the merits of this dispute, Roberts felt that his position allows him to curtail such questions and answers as a matter of general decorum and conduct. It is certainly true that all judges are given some leeway in maintaining basic rules concerning the conduct and comments of participants in such “courts.”

This could lead to a confrontation over the right of senators to seek answers to lawful questions and the authority of the presiding office to maintain basic rules of fairness and decorum. It is not clear what the basis of the Chief Justice’s ruling would be in barring references to the name of the whistleblower if his status as a whistleblower is contested and federal law does not protect his name. Yet, there are many things that are not prohibited by law but still proscribed by courts. This issue however goes to the fact-finding interests of a senator who must cast a vote on impeachment. Unless Majority Leader Mitch McConnell can defuse the situation, this afternoon could force Roberts into a formal decision with considerable importance for this and future trials.

Update: Paul said that his question did not mention the name of the whistleblower and instead focused on “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.” If that is the full question, I fail to see the justification for Roberts refusing to read it. There have been various questions on both sides raising political influences and conspiracies. Once the presiding officer begins to bar questions as disrespectful or objectionable, it is incumbent on the officer to explain the criteria or basis for such regulation.

253 thoughts on ““If I Have To Fight For Recognition, I Will”: Paul and Roberts On Collision Course Over Whistleblower Questions [UPDATED]”

  1. Whistleblower’s are a weapon against government.
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    They are a tool that could be used to clean up the swamp. But the swamp does not want to be cleaned and thus the WB is the one being demonized.

    1. The whistleblower is part of the swamp and is against outsiders that disagree with the swamp. That has been demonstrated over and over again over the past 3+ years.

      Anon doesn’t recognize that because he thinks the swamp is democracy at its best where our employees tell us what they will do. They use all sorts of activities even to determine who should be at the head of our government. Instead of free elections they believe in impeaching a President limiting the power of normal American citizens.

      Anon has a totalitarian philosophy based on ignorance and lies.

      1. The whistleblower is part of the swamp and is against outsiders that disagree with the swamp.
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        The whistleblower is part of the govt. If you don’t want the govt to be a swamp then you need WB to reveal what is going on inside the govt.

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        They use all sorts of activities even to determine who should be at the head of our government.
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        Yes the swamp is helping trump get reelected.

        1. “The whistleblower is part of the govt. ”

          The WB and individuals in the government including some legislators are part of the swamp.

          ” If you don’t want the govt to be a swamp then you need WB to reveal what is going on inside the govt.”

          If one wants to eliminate the swamp in this case one has to shed light on the whistleblower, the intellgence community that commited this fraud and likely some of our leglislators.

          “Yes the swamp is helping trump get reelected.”

          In a way, yes. The swamp tried to rid themselves of Trump but their plans backfired.This has been going on for over three years. The solution is to vote solid majority Republicans that are not part of the anti-Trump swamp movement.

          1. “Yes the swamp is helping trump get reelected.”

            In a way, yes. The swamp tried to rid themselves of Trump but their plans backfired.
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            You have to be really stupid to think the swamp is that stupid and incompetent. You don’t become that powerful by being as dumb as a 4th grader.

            1. “You have to be really stupid to think the swamp is that stupid and incompetent. You don’t become that powerful by being as dumb as a 4th grader.”

              Anon, it seems Clapper and Brennan are talking about you and want you in their inner circle. They think you would make a great leader. Yes, the elites can be as dumb as sh!t.

    2. They are a tool that could be used to clean up the swamp.

      And a hammer could be used to pound nails. It could also be used for nefarious purposes. WB don’t get a pass from scrutiny merely because there’s a law describing their legitimate purpose. We have a constitution that describes the powers of the respective branches of government. Using your logic, they shouldn’t be scrutinized any more than the WB.

      1. And a hammer could be used to pound nails. It could also be used for nefarious purposes.
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        Even if it was used for a corrupt purpose like a phony staged scandal that helps Trump get reelected that is no reason to attack the WB.
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        WB don’t get a pass from scrutiny merely because there’s a law describing their legitimate purpose.

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        The law says scrutiny is the ICIG and the DOJs job. They have found nothing improper. All the WB did was report the facts to the extent that he/she was aware of them. More govt employees should be doing that if you want the swamp to be cleaned up.

        There is good reason why WBs are not supposed to be the threatened by public officials. Discouraging WBs is exactly what the swamp wants.

        1. The law says scrutiny is the ICIG and the DOJs job. They have found nothing improper.

          Who is watching the watchers? Certainly not you. You have an entirely different jinn agenda. If people googled your name, they would see you chose that name for a reason.

          1. The law says scrutiny is the ICIG and the DOJs job. They have found nothing improper.

            Who is watching the watchers?
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            That would be the President. Trump appointed the ICIG and the AG. And he can fire them if they are not doing their job.

  2. “Far-Left Journalist Glenn Greenwald Wonders ‘Who Gives A F*ck’ about Trump/Ukraine Hoax”

    Greenwald has been a rare breath of fresh air from the Left on the impeachment farce.

    Left-wing journalist Glenn Greenwald was a prominent skeptic of the Russia-gate narrative used to facilitate the impeachment of President Donald Trump, and he is similarly skeptical of its sequel regarding Ukraine.

    Greenwald bemoaned the “weird retrograde Cold War obsession” that has developed among the Democrats in the age of Trump. He believes that “no one cares about” the supposed Ukraine scandal with actual problems facing Americans like “stagnating wages,” lack of access to health care, and student debt continuing to skyrocket.

    “Basically, what has the past four years of Trump’s presidency been dominated by? Russian and Ukraine — like do you think people in the key swing states wake up in the morning and give the slightest thought to like, what Putin is doing?” Greenwald said to journalist Justin Caruso in an exclusive interview with the Daily Caller.

    “Or whether the U.S. is like, sufficiently arming Ukraine, or who knows who the ambassador of Ukraine is or who gives a f*ck if Trump wanted to fire him?” he added. “Or like, Lev Parnas, or whatever that guy’s name is who gave that interview to Rachel Maddow, that everyone can’t stop talking about now?”

    Greenwald is dismayed that Democrats are obsessed about these issues while largely ignoring the things that actually matter to ordinary Americans.

    “What do the Democrats stand for… some kind of weird retrograde Cold War obsession that no one cares about?” Greenwald asked.

    – Big league Politics

  3. Prof Turley wrote?
    Federal law does not guarantee anonymity of such whistleblowers in Congress —
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    This is what the statute says

    (A) the Inspector General shall not disclose the identity of the employee without the consent of the employee, unless the Inspector General determines that such disclosure is unavoidable during the course of the investigation or the disclosure is made to an official of the Department of Justice responsible for determining whether a prosecution should be undertaken, and this provision shall qualify as a withholding statute pursuant to subsection (b)(3) of section 552 of title 5 (commonly known as the “Freedom of Information Act”);

    50 U.S. Code § 3033. Inspector General of the Intelligence Community

    If I recall correctly the Inspector General of the Intelligence Community testified to Congress that he had not revealed the name of the whistleblower. The complaint that was passed to the DNI and then passed to the House committee did not contain the name.

    A person inquired to the House Intelligence Committee about the procedure for filing a complaint but it cannot be assumed this was the same person that later filed the complaint.

    1. I’ll try to find and post the entire text of the Whistleblower Protection Act.
      The segment Jinn quotes pertains to restrictions on the Inspector General’s ability to name the whistleblower.
      That would seem to be straightforward enough as far as how the law applies to the IG.
      When the issue at hand is whether the whistleblower in this case has an absolute right to anonymity, that it prohibits all others ((in additionan to the IG) from identifying the WB, the answer is often that “it depends”.

      1. Anonymous – by not checking the box that the faux whistleblower had meet with the House Intelligence Comm., the faux whistleblower does not qualify as a whistleblower and does not fall under the statute.

        1. R45345.pdf
          This should be the link to the text Whistleblower Protection Act and also additional directives about WB protections.
          When you’re done reading this, please provide a summary, Mr. Schulte.😉
          ( No hurry)

          1. Anonymous – it won’t open up. That could have to do with Eric C. no qualifying as a whistleblower. 😉

            1. Mr. Schulte,
              I had some trouble posting the link……thought I had it resolved before I posted it, but I guess not.
              I’m glad that you did not mention Eric Ciaramella’s full name, as Eric Ciaramella’s name is a tightly guarded secret and we are not supposed to know that Eric Ciaramella is probably the whistleblower.

              1. Anonymous – I didn’t mention Eric Ciaramella’s name because I cannot spull it. However, since I think Eric C. (whose name I cannot spull) is a faux whistleblower, if I could spull it, it would spull it.

                  1. To be honest, jinn is the best of the lot here. Look up what a jinn is. He is not anyone’s ally here. Treat him as the jinn he is and you’ll be just fine.

      2. The segment Jinn quotes pertains to restrictions on the Inspector General’s ability to name the whistleblower.
        That would seem to be straightforward enough as far as how the law applies to the IG.
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        The only way anybody else knows is if the IG tells them and the IG is not permitted to do that except in certain situations that do not apply to this case.

        1. Assuming that ONLY the ICIG knows the identity of the WB, and that he did not disclose the identity of the WB, then there it’d be difficult to know who the WB is.
          That is one heck of an assumption, especially given that the WB first contacted Chairman Schiff’s Committee before going to the IG.
          I don’t know who else the WB may have contacted before, or in addition to, the Intelligence Communities’ IG.
          Additionally, there is the factor that very few people were listening in on the phone call that led the WB’s complaint.
          There were only so many people who could have told the WB about the contents of the call, and Vindman seems to be a likely suspect as the one who leaked that information.
          The reactions and statements of Vindman, Vindman’s lawyer, Schiff, Nunes, and Jordon were telling (during questioning in the House impeachment hearing).
          I don’t think it’s unlikely that Sen. Paul and others were able to figure out the identity of the WB.
          Now if the law is supposedly clear cut that no one can identify the WB, Sen. Paul and others put themselves in a position where they could be charged with a crime.
          That seems unlikely, but we’ll see if he and the others are prosecuted if the law is as clear cut and ironclad as some claim.

          1. especially given that the WB first contacted Chairman Schiff’s Committee before going to the IG.
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            Somebody contacted the committee. You don’t know that it was the same person that filed the complaint.

              1. TThompson,
                From the claims Jinn makes in his comments, Jinn is all-knowing, all-seeing, and super prescient.
                Making anybody else believe all that (beside Jinn) ain’t gonna happen.

                1. Jinn is all-knowing, all-seeing, and super prescient.
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                  I am the one in this discussion that has said i don’t know who the whistleblower is and your response to that is that makes me all-knowing, all-seeing, and super prescient?
                  You have been so brainwashed by the ideology that you are immersed in that you can’t see how ridiculous your comments are.

          2. Now if the law is supposedly clear cut that no one can identify the WB, Sen. Paul and others put themselves in a position where they could be charged with a crime.
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            The law is clear cut, But you are lying about what the law says.
            It is not against the law for Sen Paul to say who the whistleblower is. However, if the clear cut law has been followed that means Paul does not have any way to know who the whistleblower is. That means Paul would be lying if he names the WB just as you would be lying if you name the WB

            1. The law is perhaps “clear-cut” in the mind of “Jinn”. The reasons why it is not that clear cut have already been explained.
              Since explaining anything to Jinn is an obvious waste of time, those comments and links dealing with the debate over the supposed, absolute right to anonymity for the whistleblower were not posted for Jinn.

              1. The law is perhaps “clear-cut” in the mind of “Jinn”. The reasons why it is not that clear cut have already been explained.
                ______________________________________
                The law makes it clear that only the ICIG knows who the WB is. The ICIG under oath has stated that he has told no one who the WB is.

                That means anybody who claims to know who is the WB is just lying. They aren’t breaking the law they are just stating false information.

                1. The law makes it clear that only the ICIG knows who the WB is. The ICIG under oath has stated that he has told no one who the WB is.

                  Oh, the law makes it clear. Well then of course no one would dare violate the law. And the ICIG testified under oath he hasn’t told anyone who the WB is.

                  That means anybody who claims to know who is the WB is just lying.

                  No, that’s not what that means. That means the ICIG, under penalty of perjury, claims to have not told anyone. It’s quite odd that there’s a name that can never be mentioned, and yet according to you, no one knows that name. It must have just been dumb luck this name was never uttered during the House inquiries and the Senate trial, given the fact the ICIG testified he hadn’t told anyone.

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