Former White House Ethics Chief Criticizes Rand Paul Over Threat to Name Whistleblower: 'It is a Dangerous Form of Intimidation'

A former White House chief has criticized Rand Paul for threatening to name the Ukraine whistleblower, saying the tactic was one see in "the world's most corrupt countries."

Walter Shaub, an ex-director of the Office for Government Ethics, said in a tweet that the Kentucky senator would be committing "one of the most shameful breaches a legislator could commit" if he did choose to out the whistleblower, and called the proposal "shocking."

He also said that the suggestion alone was a "dangerous form of intimidation" that would have "lasting repercussions."

The former ethics director's condemnation of Paul came after The Hill reported that the senator told reporters he "probably will" disclose the identity of the Ukraine whistleblower, whose complaint about the July phone call between President Donald Trump and his Ukrainian counterpart Volodymyr Zelenskiy sparked the ongoing impeachment inquiry.

Rand Paul
Senator Rand Paul (R-Kentucky) departs the weekly Republican policy luncheon on September 25, 2018 in Washington, D.C. Win McNamee/Getty

Paul told reporters that he was "more than willing" to out the unknown figure and claimed no law barred him from doing so, according to The Hill.

Reacting to the story, Shaub said: "This is shocking. It would be one of the most shameful breaches a legislator could commit. It's the sort of thing you'd expect to see only in the world's most corrupt countries.

"Even suggesting he'll do it is a dangerous form of intimidation that will have lasting repercussions."

Paul's first push for the whistleblower to be named this week came at Trump's Monday rally in Kentucky at the height of the state governor race.

"I say tonight to the media: do your job and print his name," Sen. Paul said at the rally. "And I say this to every Republican in Washington: step up and subpoena Hunter Biden, and subpoena the whistleblower."

Sticking to his position in a tweet yesterday, the senator said whistleblowers were protected from "the repercussion of being fired" but did not have total anonymity protections.

Speaking on Special Report with Bret Baier on Fox News on Tuesday, Paul also repeated that he "can" and "may" reveal the whistleblower's identity.

When Baier asked Paul what stopped him from using Senate privilege to reveal the whistblower's name in the chamber, the Kentucky senator responded: "I can and I may, but I can do it right now if I want.

"Nothing stops me. There is no law that stops me from doing it, other than that I don't want to make it about the one individual."

The Fox News host kept pushing the Kentucky senator on the matter, noting that his father, Ron Paul, had called for whistleblowers to be praised and said "people like Edward Snowden" deserved rewards.

"We were defending Edward Snowden, who I still defend and think he should have gotten whistleblower status," Rand Paul said. "Most of the people defending the current whistleblower wanted to lock up Edward Snowden and hang him or execute him."

Asked if whistleblower protections should only cover those he liked, the Kentucky senator said he didn't want the Ukraine whistleblower to be executed or fired.

He added: "But it's a protection from being fired; not a protection from being anonymous. Particularly if it's a criminal case."

Repeated concerns have been raised about the whistleblower's safety, should the unidentified individual to be outed amid the unfolding impeachment inquiry.

CNN reported early last month that the whistleblower's legal team and the House Intelligence Committee chaired by Adam Schiff were talking about "extreme measures" that could protect their identity.

Hitting out at Paul last night, the whistleblower's attorney Mark Zaid tweeted that the Kentucky Republican would be "personally responsible for anything harmful that happens."

"And let's be clear, @RandPaul will be acting as surrogate for President Trump, making him just as responsible," he added.

Former White House Ethics Chief Criticizes Rand Paul Over Threat to Name Whistleblower: 'It is a Dangerous Form of Intimidation' | U.S.