Friday, September 20, 2019

Blow, Whistleblower, Blow

This news snuck up on me, but I should not have been surprised.  I completely missed the intelligence community whistleblower filing last month, which seems to be coming to a head this week.

At this point, we as the public do not have much information.

What has come out is that Trump’s interaction with a foreign leader included a “promise” that was regarded as so troubling that it led an official in the United States intelligence community to file a formal whistleblower complaint with the inspector general for the intelligence community on August 12, 2019. When the complain was filed, Trump was at his golf resort in New Jersey. In the five weeks leading up to the complaint, Trump had interactions or conversations with several foreign leaders. It has since been revealed by the Washington Post and the New York Times that Ukraine was the subject of the whistleblower’s alarm. This makes conversations with Russian President Vladimir Putin and Ukranian President Volodymyr Zelensky of utmost interest.

In the middle of this whole whistleblower event, Trump has also had trouble with the office of the Director of National Intelligence. Trump’s Director of National Intelligence, Daniel Coats resigned on July 28, 2019. Coat’s number two at the as Director of National Intelligence, Sue Gordon, also resigned when she was passed over as the appointee for the Director position. Trump’s initial pick, Rep. John Ratcliffe fell through, with the role eventually landing on Joseph Maguire.

This leads to a new Director of National Intelligence caught in a turf dispute with Intelligence Community Inspector General Michael Atkinson and the Congressional Intelligence committees. Inspector General Atkinson determined the complaint to be credible and troubling enough to be considered a matter of “urgent concern,” requiring notification of the congressional oversight committees. House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam B. Schiff has demanded the full disclosure of the complaint and subpoenaed Maguire on September 13 to compel disclosure. Maguire continues to refuse to testify or to hand over the complaint, arguing it is beyond his jurisdiction. Schiff says Maguire has told him that Maguire cannot because “he is being instructed not to, that this involved a higher authority, someone above.

As of today, Inspector General Atkinson is scheduled to brief members of the House Intelligence Committee in a closed-door session. Schiff has indicated a determination to get to the bottom of the complaint “come hell or high water.” “This involves something more sinister, something involving a serious or flagrant abuse or violation of law or misappropriation, and the IG underscored the seriousness of this, and also that this needs to be looked into. And right now, no one is looking into this.

Trump for his part has defended his actions, saying there was “nothing said wrong” and that his conversation was “pitch perfect.” When asked today about the identify of the whistleblower, he said “I do not know the identity of the whistleblower,” despite having previously described them as “partisan.” Further, when asked about Ukraine, Trump indicated, “it doesn’t matter what I discussed,” adding “someone ought to look into Joe Biden.” He admits he has not read the complaint, but describes it as “another media disaster. […] You have been wrong on so many things.”

Typical obfuscate and divert.

It's important to note, this isn't just some new scandal, some new way that Trump's supposed enemies have come up with to get rid of him.  Some new allegation, that will prove to be false, or will not stick.

This is part of a pattern of behavior.  A pattern of obstruction of justice, of abuse of power and discretion, specifically with relation to foreign powers.  This could all very well be related to Trump asking Ukraine to investigate Joe Biden and in particular a gas company linked to Hunter Biden.  Rudy Giuliani, Trump's personal attorney, has admitted to as much.  This would be very similar to Trump asking Russia to investigate Hillary Clinton.

And surprisingly, we keep coming up with historic firsts in how these allegations come out.  Historic firsts in what this administration is being accused of.  We now have the first time the whistleblower provisions have been used against a sitting president.

At what point can we admit this man should no longer have power.  At what point can we admit that his ego is a danger to our nation.  At what point can we look at the sum of the evidence and see that he is a con man.

It's time for him to be impeached or otherwise forcibly be removed from office (25th amendment).  It's time for any lagging supporters to refuse to re-elect him.  If you cannot vote Democrat, then vote for one of the other Republicans that will actually be challenging him in the primaries.

It's time for this all to end.


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