Paul names whistle-blower on Senate floor: Impeachment update
Senators will have all day Tuesday to take the floor and explain whether they plan to vote to acquit or convict President Donald Trump when his impeachment trial reaches its final verdict on Wednesday.
Here are the latest developments:
Paul Asks Question About Whistle-Blower (12:21 p.m.)
GOP Senator Rand Paul asked a question on the Senate floor Tuesday that Chief Justice John Roberts earlier declined to read aloud during the impeachment trial because it included the name of a person reported to be the unidentified whistle-blower whose report started the case against Trump.
He also displayed a large poster containing his question and the person’s name.
“I’m not for retributions on the whistle-blower, I don’t want him to go to jail, I don’t want him to lose his job,“ said Paul of Kentucky. He said “overzealous protection” of the person’s identity means “we don’t get to the root of how this started.”
Roberts to Attend State of the Union Speech (10:41 a.m.)
Chief Justice John Roberts and three other Supreme Court justices will attend Trump’s State of the Union address Tuesday night, court spokeswoman Kathy Arberg said.
Roberts is also serving as the presiding officer in Trump’s impeachment trial. He will be in the chair Wednesday when the Senate takes its final votes on whether to acquit or convict Trump.
Accompanying Roberts to Tuesday night’s address in the House chamber will be Justice Elena Kagan and Trump’s two appointees, Justices Neil Gorsuch and Brett Kavanaugh, Arberg said. Justice Stephen Breyer, who usually attends, was planning to fly from the Caribbean to Washington but contracted flu-like symptoms and was unable to travel, Arberg said.
Roberts in the past has questioned whether the justices should continue attending the annual speech. He likened it to a “political pep rally” in 2010, the year President Barack Obama used the event to criticize the court’s just-released Citizens United campaign finance ruling.
McConnell Urges Senate to Acquit Trump (10:07 a.m.)
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell urged the chamber to acquit Trump in Wednesday’s final vote on the two articles of impeachment.
“Tomorrow the Senate must do what we were created to do,” McConnell said on the Senate floor Tuesday. “We must vote to reject the House’s abuse of power” in bringing what he called a “nonsense impeachment” designed to settle political scores from the 2016 election – despite criticisms of Trump’s behavior by some Senate Republicans.
“Vote to acquit the president of these charges,” the majority leader said.
“If Washington Democrats have a case to make against the president’s re-election, they should make it,” McConnell said. “They don’t get to rip away the choice from the voters because they’re afraid they might lose again.”
Moments later, Minority Leader Chuck Schumer spoke about the successful effort by Republicans and the president to block evidence and witnesses during the trial.
“They are afraid of the truth,” the Democrat said. “The Republicans refused to get the evidence because they were afraid of what it would show.”
Murkowski Faults Trump, Manchin Struggling’ (6 a.m.)
Republican Senator Lisa Murkowski of Alaska said Trump’s conduct in the Ukraine matter was “shameful and wrong,” but she’ll vote to acquit him in part because the House built its case on a “rotted foundation.”
Democratic Senator Joe Manchin of West Virginia said Monday on the Senate floor that he’s “truly struggling” and undecided on how he’ll vote. He also said Trump’s July 25 call with Ukraine’s president “was simply wrong.”
Both senators – viewed as moderates in their parties – said they like the idea of censuring the president, a symbolic move that the Republican majority is unlikely to consider.
More senators will take the floor Tuesday and part of Wednesday to explain their views on whether Trump should be removed from office.
While Trump’s acquittal in the 100-member, Republican-controlled chamber is certain, all eyes will be on a few Democrats in addition to Manchin who have said they aren’t decided, including Doug Jones of Alabama and Kyrsten Sinema of Arizona. A vote for acquittal from any of them would let Trump say his reprieve was bipartisan.