Impeachment 'Whistleblower' May Be Implicated in Biden-Burisma Caper, Trump Lawyer Says
The unnamed "whistleblower" who launched the investigation that became the impeachment of President Donald Trump may himself be implicated in the Obama administration's decision to ultimately overlook the conflict of interest involving then-Vice President Joe Biden (administration point man on Ukraine) and his son Hunter, who served on the board of the notoriously corrupt Ukrainian gas firm Burisma. The fact that key questions about the "whistleblower" have been shut down from the start is a serious violation of Trump's due process, according to Patrick Philbin, deputy counsel to the president.
Philbin listed three key due process concerns: a lack of authorization, the Democrats not allowing Trump to present evidence or present or cross-examine witnesses, and the whistleblower's coordination with the staff of Rep. Adam Schiff (D-Calif.).
"Manager Schiff or his staff had some role in consulting with the whistleblower that remains secret to this day and all attempts to find out about that, to ask questions about that, were shut down," the president's lawyer noted.
This shady coordination raises a whole host of pertinent questions about the whistleblower's motivation for filing his report. If, as has been claimed in many reports, the whistleblower worked with Joe Biden, then this individual may have gotten the impeachment ball rolling in order to protect himself.
"If the whistleblower, as is alleged in some public reports, actually did work for then-Vice President Biden on Ukraine issues, exactly what was his role? What was his involvement when issues were raised — we know from testimony that questions were raised — about the potential conflict of interest that the vice president then had when his son was sitting on the board of Burisma," Philbin asked. "Was the alleged whistleblower involved in any of that and in making decisions to not do anything related to that?"
While Biden was the point-man on Ukraine, his son took a lucrative job at Burisma, and the firm's founder was already under investigation at the time. Joe Biden would later go on to brag about how he threatened to withdraw $1 billion in Ukraine aid to pressure then-Ukraine President Petro Poroshenko to fire Prosecutor General Viktor Shokin, who was overseeing an investigation into Burisma. Biden's defenders claim that the VP wanted Shokin gone because Shokin was insufficiently effective at rooting out corruption, but the investigation into Burisma was indeed dropped following Shokin's ouster.
If the individual responsible for starting the impeachment in the first place was himself implicated in the decisions not to have Biden step down from his role as point-man in Ukraine and not to ask Hunter Biden to resign from Burisma, that could taint the entire impeachment effort at its core.
"Did he have some reason to want to put the deep-six on any question raising any issue about what went on with the Bidens and Burisma and firing Shokin and withholding a billion dollars in loan guarantees and enforcing a very explicit quid pro quo — you won’t get this billion dollars until you fire him?" Philbin asked, pointedly.
"We don’t know, and because Manager Schiff was guiding this whole process — because he was chairman in charge of directing the inquiry and directing it away from any of those questions — that creates a real due process defect in the record," the president's lawyer declared.
Joe Biden's conflict of interest with Burisma is damaging enough, but if the whistleblower was himself implicated in it, then a larger conflict of interest may be at the center of the entire impeachment effort.
Tyler O'Neil is the author of Making Hate Pay: The Corruption of the Southern Poverty Law Center. Follow him on Twitter at @Tyler2ONeil.