The Anti-Trump Whistleblower Story Looks Like Another Phony Scandal
The so-called whistleblower "scandal" that the media is hyping up every which way has Democrats once again falling all over each other to declare another "impeachable offense," despite having virtually no details about the conversation between Trump and Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelensky. But, like everything else that's been thrown at Trump, this appears to be another phony scandal. The Daily Wire's Ashe Schow reported Saturday that the whistleblower complaint "is nothing more than a rumor reported by someone in the intelligence community." In fact, CNN reported this fact, but buried it in an article:
The whistleblower didn't have direct knowledge of the communications, an official briefed on the matter told CNN. Instead, the whistleblower's concerns came in part from learning information that was not obtained during the course of their work, and those details have played a role in the administration's determination that the complaint didn't fit the reporting requirements under the intelligence whistleblower law, the official said.
Schow noted, "this is yet another anonymous source giving more context on what another anonymous source told a different outlet, but it still calls the entire story into question." The original Washington Post story, despite being on the front page, was vague, relying on “two former U.S. officials familiar with the matter” who were “speaking on the condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to discuss the matter publicly." They alleged that Trump had made a “promise” to a world leader—which, based on what we know right now, is incorrect.
The Post filled out its story with information about a “standoff” between Acting Director of National Intelligence Joseph Maguire and Congress.
The Intelligence Community Inspector General, Michael Atkinson – who was appointed by Trump – determined the whistleblower complaint to be of “urgent concern,” according to the Post. But Maguire argued he was not required by law to turn the complaint over to congressional Democrats seeking to impeach Trump.
The reason Maguire didn’t turn the complaint over is because of what CNN reported – that the person who made the complaint had no direct knowledge of what was said and was merely reporting a rumor. Why the inspector general determined it “urgent and credible” remains to be seen.
All the reactions to the story since have been based on speculation as to what occurred on the call. Trump is alleged to have pressured Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky and offered a quid pro quo... which, according to the Wall Street Journal, there wasn't:
President Trump in a July phone call repeatedly pressured the president of Ukraine to investigate Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden ’s son, urging Volodymyr Zelensky about eight times to work with Rudy Giuliani, his personal lawyer, on a probe, according to people familiar with the matter.
“He told him that he should work with [Mr. Giuliani] on Biden, and that people in Washington wanted to know” whether allegations were true or not, one of the people said. Mr. Trump didn’t mention a provision of foreign aid to Ukraine on the call, said this person, who didn’t believe Mr. Trump offered the Ukrainian president any quid-pro-quo for his cooperation on an investigation…
Nevertheless, if you can dream it, someone is alleging it. Even Hillary Clinton has chimed in with an eye-roll-worthy tweet:
Just like the Russian collusion hoax, there's no evidence of this yet, but that isn't stopping people like Hillary from making her allegation, or others declaring an incident they know nothing about an impeachable offense. In March 2012, Barack Obama was caught on a live microphone whispering to then-Russian President Dmitry Medvedev that he needed Russia to give him space on issues such as missile defense, before adding: "This is my last election, after my election, I have more flexibility.” It was on tape, but few in the media cared. Some even defended Obama, but generally, it was treated as much ado about nothing. As of this moment, all we have is speculation about Trump, and the media is once again calling for impeachment.
So far, all we know is that the whistleblower at the heart of this situation didn't actually overhear anything. The one thing we do know is that in 2016, Joe Biden successfully pressured then-Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko to ax the country's top prosecutor, who was investigating his son's company, by threatening to withhold $1 billion in U.S. loan guarantees. Biden even bragged about it.
This whistleblower "scandal" may be another nothingburger for Trump, but it could be a much bigger problem for Joe Biden.
This may get uglier... but maybe for Joe, not for Trump.
UPDATE: Trump tweets that the Ukraine foreign minister himself "disputes reports of any pressure" from him.