Chief Justice of the United States John Roberts blocked Kentucky Republican Sen. Rand Paul from posing a question during the Senate impeachment trial Wednesday that would have named the alleged whistleblower at the center of the case, Fox News is told — and Paul may try to force the issue during the question-and-answer session that begins Thursday afternoon.
Roberts, for now, has ball control because he actually receives the questions in note cards from senators, then reads the question aloud in the Senate chamber to be answered by either House Democratic managers or Trump’s defense team. But Fox News has learned Roberts may soon lose his grip on the proceedings amid a torrent of criticism both inside and outside the Senate.
The Federalist co-founder Sean Davis condemned what he called Roberts’ “arbitrary and unilateral censorship of senators and Senate business,” and reported that Roberts had initially sought to block even general questions of the intelligence community whistleblower. When Republicans threatened a vote rebuking Roberts on the record, Davis reported, Roberts backed down and decided only to prohibit mentioning the whistleblower’s name.
A reporter for Roll Call observed that during a break in the trial Wednesday, Paul was fuming.
“I don’t want to have to stand up to try and fight for recognition,” Paul shouted, according to reporter Niels Lesniewski, who noted that Paul’s complaint was “audible from the galleries above the chamber.”
“If I have to fight for recognition, I will,” Paul said.
Asked by Fox News whether Paul, who has long raised concerns about possible intelligence community overreach, would press the issue during the upcoming question period, a spokesman for the senator told Fox News only, “tbd” — short for “to be determined.” Last year, Paul was vocal about wanting testimony from the whistleblower on the record.