As the impeachment process moves into a new and more public phase, President Trump and his allies are increasing their pressure on the media to reveal the name of the whistleblower who started it all.
At a rally in Kentucky on Monday, Republican Senator Rand Paul urged the press to “do your job and print his name,” which prompted the audience to break into chants of “do your job!”
Paul accompanied Mr. Trump as he campaigned for Republican Governor Matt Bevin, who is up for reelection on Tuesday.
The whistleblower, who works as a U.S. intelligence officer, has a right to anonymity under federal law.
The whistleblower’s attorney, Mark Zaid, denounced Paul’s comments.
“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,” Zaid said in a statement to CBS News.
The House passed a formal impeachment resolution last week, started releasing transcripts of witnesses’ closed-door testimonies this week, and plans to hold public hearings soon. At issue is a July 25 call in which Mr. Trump pressured the president of Ukraine to investigate former Vice President Joe Biden, a Democrat running to unseat Mr. Trump, and his son, Hunter Biden. It is illegal to ask foreign entities for election assistance.
During the rally, Paul and Mr. Trump also called on House Democrats to subpoena the whistleblower to testify before the impeachment committees.
“The whistleblower needs to come before Congress as a material witness,” said Paul. “I say this to my fellow colleagues in Congress, to any Republican in Washington, step up and subpoena Hunter Biden and subpoena the whistleblower.”
The whistleblower’s attorney told CBS News last week that his client would be willing to answer written questions directly from Republicans on the House Intelligence Committee — without having them approved by the committee’s Democratic majority. His identity would still be hidden but would be verified by the inspector general of the intelligence community. It is unclear whether this will take place.
As concerns about the whistleblower’s safety mount, Senate Minority Leader Charles Schumer has asked intelligence leaders how they plan to protect him.
During the rally, Paul and Mr. Trump — once fierce opponents in the 2016 presidential race — praised one another.
Paul said, “President Trump has great courage. He faces down the fake media everyday.” The president praised Paul for being there “whenever we need a vote. He’s so incredible.”