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Trump Vs. The Whistleblower

No one knows the precise nature of the unfolding scandal, but the IG calls the whistleblower allegations credible.

The newest Trump scandal, that of the Whistleblower, is still unfolding, but its implications are very serious for the president. At its core, the scandal questions whether Donald Trump is worthy of being trusted with the power that he commands as president.

The Whistleblower saga began with a Washington Post report that an intelligence official had filed a whistleblower report about a promise that President Trump had allegedly made to a foreign leader in a phone call. Such a complaint is apparently without precedent in US history. The precise nature of the complaint against Trump is not known, but subsequent reports, which have not been verified, indicate that it involved the Ukraine. Who filed the report is not known.

There is rampant speculation that the complaint involves a July 25 telephone call with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky. A report by the British newspaper, The Independent, alleged that President Trump told Zelensky to reopen the investigation into Joe Biden’s son if he wanted to improve relations with the US.

Hunter Biden was a board member of Burisma, an energy company operating in the Ukraine during the Obama Administration, which created a conflict of interests for his father. The company was being investigated for bribery by Ukrainian prosecutors and some Republicans allege that then-Vice President Biden intervened to halt the investigation and fire the prosecutor involved.

On CNN last night, Trump lawyer Rudy Giuliani first denied that he asked Ukraine to reopen the investigation into Hunter Biden on a May 2019 trip to the country before admitting that he had indeed made the request. Giuliani later tweeted that, “A President telling a Pres-elect of a well -known corrupt country he better investigate corruption that affects [the] US is doing his job.”

If the president was simply doing his job, then what is the scandal about? No one really knows for sure at this point except that whatever the president said was so alarming that it prompted a senior intelligence official to take the unprecedented step of reporting it. A letter from the inspector general for the intelligence community to Congress said that the whistleblower complaint was an “urgent concern” and says the report contains “good faith and credible allegations.” The report has not been released to Congress.

In a tweet yesterday, President Trump also denied any wrongdoing, arguing that he would not say anything “inappropriate” on a “heavily populated call.” Trump called the allegations “fake news” and “presidential harassment.”

Throwing fuel on the fire, Anton Geraschenko, a senior adviser to Ukraine’s interior minister, told the Daily Beast, “As soon as there is an official request from the Trump administration, we’ll look into it,” but  added that “currently there is no open investigation.”

For now, the story is developing, but, if true, it has the potential to become yet another example of President Trump’s abuse of executive power. As with the abuses detailed in the Mueller report, it appears that the president may have used his position to try to influence matters for personal political gain. A request for a foreign country to dig up political dirt on a political opponent with the promise of quid pro quo from the taxpayers would be a serious matter indeed.

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