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Photo: Bryan Woolston/Getty Images

Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) continued his controversial threats to name the Ukraine whistleblower on Tuesday, telling Fox News' Bret Baier that he "probably will" do so — days after calling on the media to print his name at a rally alongside President Trump.

The state of play: Paul's comments ignited a split within the Republican Party. Some Senate Republicans rebuked his comments, while some Trump allies — including the president's own son, Donald Trump Jr. — have publicly stated the whistleblower's alleged identity, which has been promoted among right-wing media.

  • The whistleblower's lawyers responded to Trump Jr.'s statement, saying they would "not confirm or deny any name that is published or promoted by supporters of the president," adding "that publication or promotion of a name shows the desperation to deflect from the substance of the whistleblower complaint."
  • The White House told journalist Yashar Ali that neither "the president nor any senior administration official was aware in advance that the president's eldest son was going to tweet out the name of the alleged whistleblower."
  • Trump Jr. told Ali: "The outrage on this is BS. And those pretending that I would coordinate with The White House to send out a Breitbart link haven't been watching my feed for a long time."

The other side: A group of Senate Republicans told Politico that they did not support naming the whistleblower over fears that doing so might break the law.

  • Sen. Chuck Grassley (Iowa): "All I can say is I expect whistleblowers to be protected according to what the law gives them."
  • Sen. Lamar Alexander (Tenn.): "We should follow the law. And I believe the law protects whistleblowers."
  • Senate Majority Whip John Thune (S.D.): "The whistleblower statute is there for a reason. And I think we need to respect the law where whistleblowers are concerned. Eventually that person may decide to come forward voluntarily."
  • Sen. Mitt Romney (Utah): "Whistleblowers should be entitled to confidentially and privacy, because they play a vital function in our democracy."

The bottom line: Trump remains a wild card in this saga, as he has tweeted dozens of times since September about the whistleblower — and stood alongside Paul during his call to the media to print his name.

Go deeper ... Trump-Ukraine scandal: The key players, dates and documents

Go deeper

Collins helps contractor before pro-Susan PAC gets donation

Sen. Susan Collins during her reelection campaign. Photo: Scott Eisen/Getty Images

A PAC backing Sen. Susan Collins in her high-stakes reelection campaign received $150,000 from an entity linked to the wife of a defense contractor whose firm Collins helped land a federal contract, new public records show.

Why it matters: The executive, Martin Kao of Honolulu, leaned heavily on his political connections to boost his business, federal prosecutors say in an ongoing criminal case against him. The donation linked to Kao was veiled until last week.

How cutting GOP corporate cash could backfire

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

Companies pulling back on political donations, particularly to members of Congress who voted against certifying President Biden's election win, could inadvertently push Republicans to embrace their party's rightward fringe.

Why it matters: Scores of corporate PACs have paused, scaled back or entirely abandoned their political giving programs. While designed to distance those companies from events that coincided with this month's deadly siege on the U.S. Capitol, research suggests the moves could actually empower the far-right.

9 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Scoop: Kaine, Collins pitch Senate colleagues on censuring Trump

Sen. Tim Kaine speaks with Sen. Susan Collins. Photo: Andrew Harnik/AP via Getty Images

Sens. Tim Kaine and Susan Collins are privately pitching their colleagues on a bipartisan resolution censuring former President Trump, three sources familiar with the discussions tell Axios.

Why it matters: Senators are looking for a way to condemn Trump on the record as it becomes increasingly unlikely Democrats will obtain the 17 Republican votes needed to gain a conviction in his second impeachment.