Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) this week reused an incorrect Republican talking point that suggests President Donald Trump has a right to confront the whistleblower who outed his allegedly corrupt demands to Ukraine.
At a campaign rally with Trump in Kentucky on Monday, Paul insisted that media should print the whistleblower’s name, which would give GOP lawmakers the coverage they need to begin smearing the public servant.
“Well the Sixth Amendment is pretty clear,” Paul told Fox Business host Stuart Varney on Tuesday. “It is part of the Constitution, part of the Bill of Rights.”
“It says you get to confront your accusers,” he added. “So I think it is very clear the only constitutional mandate here, if someone will accuse you of something that might remove the president from office, for goodness sakes shouldn’t they come forward to present their accusations in person?”
Legal experts, however, say that the right to face one’s accuser only applies in criminal cases. NPR debunked the Sixth Amendment claim when Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) made it just last month.
“It’s designed to make sure that before someone goes to prison, that they get a chance to confront the person who has charged them with the crime,” former Obama administration lawyer Harold Koh told NPR. “This is a complete canard. The whole point of having whistleblower complaints is that whistleblowers point to problems, and the problems can then be revealed by documents. And then the person who is being charged has to demonstrate that the whistleblower is telling falsehoods through the documents.”
Paul’s critics online quickly jumped on him for being misinformed about the Constitution.
Watch the Fox Business interview and read some of the replies below.
Yeah, nice try @RandPaul Do you not know the 6th Amendment applies to criminal proceedings, or do you not care about your own credibility?
— Devin Nunes’ Lawyer (@MarylouMFerrara) November 5, 2019
@RandPaul might want to read the 6th amendment again, chief. It talks about “criminal defendants” in civil cases. For a libertarian, you sure are a dumbass when it comes to the constitution. Your father must be so disappointed in what you’ve made of the movement he left for you.
— John Thorsson (@thorsson_john) November 5, 2019
When you have no defense for your idiotic statements just try using a bastardized interpretation of the constitution and walk away.
It's been working for them for years with the Second Ammendment #2A
— nutzopalace (@nutzopalace) November 5, 2019
“you can’t get fired from a job without the Sixth Amendment” – Rand Paul, apparently
— Chris Barton (@itsChrisBarton) November 5, 2019
Impeachment is not a criminal procedure, and the Sixth Amendment doesn't apply.
— Rob– it's totally quid pro quo (@robwithanh) November 5, 2019
@RandPaul SHOULD be smart enough to understand that the whistleblower made NO criminal accusations.
He or she simply reported innapropriate conduct by the "president".
The 6th Amendment clause he refers to applies to judicial proceedings.
— Paul Geaux (@PGeaux) November 5, 2019
Certain Networks? It's because of the Constitution we are demanding impeachment! Not because we don;t like the guy! Because he is abusing his powers for his own enrichments! @RandPaul the 6th amendment is just that. It is not in the body of the Constitution where imperachemnt is!
— Jeff Morris (@JeffreyMorris7) November 5, 2019
The 6th Amendment is talking about criminal trials. This is an investigation. Once again showing that the GOP only cares about the Constitution when they are twisted in defense of their crimes.
— The Social Justice Necromancer (@deadmanshand987) November 5, 2019
@RandPaul THE IMPEACHMENT INQUIRY IS NOT A TRIAL, DUMBASS. QUIT MOOING ABOUT THE 6TH AMENDMENT AND DO YOUR GODDAMNED JOB, CHICKENSHIT.
— Kevin Lovelace (@Acostabeta) November 5, 2019
Rand. Buddy. First – The impeachment inquiry isn’t a Court of law so the 6th Amendment does NOT apply. And second – the Whistleblower Protection Act is a valid law on the books that has never been struck down as unconstitutional in violation of the 6th Amendment. Get a grip.
— W (@poljunkie12) November 5, 2019
Rand Paul does not know the law nor the Constitution and is basically arguing for sedition https://t.co/keaNdXxdpi
— Frank Plantan (@fplantan) November 5, 2019
@RandPaul Cherry picks the Constitution more than evangelical Christians cherry pick bible verses.
— PirateJoelSalty2 (@JoelSalty2) November 5, 2019
Rand Paul has never read the Sixth Amendment, or he just called Trump criminal. Seeing as how the Sixth Amendment clearly only applies to "criminal" matters.
— William Tilbury (@WmATilbury) November 5, 2019