Chief Justice John Roberts refused Thursday afternoon to read a written question submitted by Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) during the Senate impeachment trial of President Donald Trump.
“The presiding officer declines to read the question as submitted,” Roberts said. He cited no authority for his decision.
The question reportedly included the name of the so-called “whistleblower” whose complaint about the president’s July 25th phone call — which he had not heard first-hand — with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky.
Paul asked his question at the start of the second day of questions and answers to the House impeachment managers and the White House lawyers. He had reportedly tried to include the name of the so-called “whistleblower” in a question the day before, but Justice Roberts “communicated to senators that he will not read aloud the alleged Ukraine whistleblower’s name or otherwise publicly relay questions that might out the official,” Politico reported.
Democrats have claimed repeatedly that the “whistleblower” enjoys legal protection from having his identity revealed. However, they were forced to admit, during a hearing in the House Intelligence Committee, that there is no law preventing the whistleblower’s name from being used, except by the Intelligence Committee Inspector General.
Roberts is the presiding officer in the impeachment trial, as required by the Constitution. However, he has taken a hands-off role — with the exception of admonishing both sides to remain civil on the first day of opening arguments, and intervening to stop the whistleblower from being revealed.
Joel B. Pollak is Senior Editor-at-Large at Breitbart News. He earned an A.B. in Social Studies and Environmental Science and Public Policy from Harvard College, and a J.D. from Harvard Law School. He is a winner of the 2018 Robert Novak Journalism Alumni Fellowship. He is also the co-author of How Trump Won: The Inside Story of a Revolution, which is available from Regnery. Follow him on Twitter at @joelpollak.