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Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) attempted to expose the alleged name of the whistleblower who triggered Donald Trump’s impeachment by putting his name on a sign on the Senate floor Tuesday.

As Paul argued against removing Trump from office, he included the name as part of an attempt to allege a “plot” targeting Trump.

Paul’s outing attempt comes just a day after fellow Republican, Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-IA), warned against such attacks.

“Attempts by anyone to oust a whistleblower just to sell an article or score a political point—those are not helpful at all. It’s not the treatment any whistleblower deserves,” Grassley said.

Mark Zaid, the lawyer for the person named by Republicans as the whistleblower, has previously warned that attempts to expose his client could expose him to harm.

“Identifying any name for the whistleblower will simply place that individual and their family at risk of serious harm,” Zaid told CNN in November, after Donald Trump Jr. tweeted out a story from a pro-Trump site that published the alleged name.

Despite the warning, Republicans have tried to expose the individual as part of their efforts to defend Trump and oppose his removal from office.

In November, Paul called on the media to expose the whistleblower. “I say tonight to the media: do your job and print his name,” he said before a Republican campaign rally.

The demand was described as “very responsible” by Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC), one of Trump’s most prominent and ardent defenders.

During the Senate impeachment trial in January, Paul made other attempts to publicize the name. Despite a warning from Chief Justice John Roberts that he would not read questions with the name, Paul submitted a question with the name. Roberts declined to read it out loud.

At a press conference right after his question was blocked, Paul again used the name.

Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.

Photo Credit: Matt Johnson

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Eric Holder

The failure of major federal voting rights legislation in the Senate has left civil rights advocates saying they are determined to keep fighting—including by suing in battleground states. But the little bipartisan consensus that exists on election reform would, at best, lead to much narrower legislation that is unlikely to address state-level GOP efforts now targeting Democratic blocs.

“This is the loss of a battle, but it is not necessarily the loss of a war, and this war will go on,” Eric Holder, the former U.S. attorney general and Democrat, told MSNBC, saying that he and the Democratic Party will be suing in states where state constitutions protect voting rights. “This fight for voting rights and voter protection and for our democracy will continue.”

“The stakes are too important to give up now,” said Damon Hewitt, president and executive director of the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law, which for years has operated an Election Day hotline to help people vote. “Our country cannot claim to be free while allowing states to legislate away that freedom at will.”

In recent weeks, as it became clear that the Senate was not going to change its rules to allow the Freedom to Vote Act and the John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act to pass with a simple majority, there have been efforts by some lawmakers, election policy experts, and civil rights advocates to identify what election reforms could pass the Senate.

“There are several areas… where I think there could be bipartisan consensus,” said David Becker, executive director of the Center for Election Innovation and Research, in a briefing on January 20. “These areas are all around those guardrails of democracy. They are all about ensuring that however the voters speak that their voice is heard… and cannot be subverted by anyone in the post-election process.”

Becker cited updating the 1887 Electoral Count Act, which addressed the process where state-based slates of presidential electors are accepted by Congress. (In recent weeks, new evidence has surfaced showing that Donald Trump’s supporters tried to present Congress with forged certificates as part of an effort to disrupt ratifying the results on January 6, 2021.) Updating that law could also include clarifying which state officials have final authority in elections and setting out clear timetables for challenging election results in federal court after Election Day.

Five centrist Washington-based think tanks issued a report on January 20, Prioritizing Achievable Federal Election Reform, which suggested federal legislation could codify practices now used by nearly three-quarters of the states. Those include requiring voters to present ID, offering at least a week of early voting, allowing all voters to request a mailed-out ballot, and allowing states to start processing returned absentee ballots a week before Election Day.

But the report, which heavily drew on a task force of 29 state and local election officials from 20 states convened by Washington’s Bipartisan Policy Center, was notable in what it did not include, such as restoring the major enforcement section of the Voting Rights Act of 1965, which was removed by the U.S. Supreme Court in 2013. It did not mention the Electoral Count Act nor growing threats to election officials from Trump supporters.

“This won’t satisfy all supporters of the Freedom to Vote Act, but this is a plausible & serious package of reforms to make elections more accessible and secure that could attract bipartisan support,” tweeted Charles Stewart III, a political scientist and director of the MIT Election Data and Science Lab. “A good starting point.”

The reason the centrist recommendations won’t satisfy civil rights advocates is that many of the most troubling developments since the 2020 election would likely remain.

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Former president Donald Trump

By Rami Ayyub and Alexandra Ulmer

(Reuters) -The prosecutor for Georgia's biggest county on Thursday requested a special grand jury with subpoena power to aid her investigation into then-President Donald Trump's efforts to influence the U.S. state's 2020 election results.

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