Chief Justice Roberts, who dishonorably upheld Obamacare, refused to read a question proferred by Rand Paul that read:
“To the Manager Schiff and counsel for the President:
“Manager Schiff and Counsel for the President, are you aware that House Intelligence Committee staffer Shawn Misko had a close relationship with Eric Ciaramella when at the National Security Council together, and are you aware and how do you respond to reports that Ciaramella and Misko may have worked together to plot impeaching the President before there were formal House impeachment proceedings?”
Any authority he may have to refuse questions derives from the Senate’s power to conduct the impeachment, not from his position as presiding official. His position is constitutional but its powers are not spelled out; he is authorized to “preside” but no more. The Senate has the sole Power: “The Senate shall have the sole Power to try all Impeachments.” That language surely gives the Senate the authority to control questions and courtroom procedures in detail. The Chief Justice (in a presidential impeachment) presides and that’s an executive function. As executive, he executes procedures or carries them out. He doesn’t make them up.
Roberts drastically overstepped in refusing Paul’s question and the Senate, if it wanted to, could overrule him.
Now, to the point, having refused to read the question because it contains the name of the alleged whistleblower, Roberts has implicitly expressed his belief or affirmed his belief that Ciaramella is indeed the whistleblower. He has singled out that man’s name, that man, and no other man as triggering his expressed veto of certain questions. Why? Because he thinks that Ciaramella is the whistleblower or thinks it highly likely that he is.
Roberts has elevated what he sees as an allegation, not made by the question at all and not present in it, into the equivalent of naming the whistleblower. Such an elevation of his perception of an allegation into virtual outing, by his own refusal, amounts to endorsing the allegations that have been made before and made outside of Paul’s letter. His refusal lends credence to these allegations. He himself effectively and implicitly is supporting the idea that Ciaramella is the whistleblower.8:50 am on January 31, 2020