The whistleblower’s report reads like Chris Cuomo’s first year law school Legal Writing and Research test essay, after he’d blown off half the class to drink tequila from a boot. It’s somewhere between a blog post citing pieces from The Hill (a totally biased and clickbaity source) and intelligence snippets obtained from water cooler conversations with people who may or may not work in the Situation Room.
Here’s what stands out to me:
- The whistleblower had a pre-existing narrative (“I don’t like Trump”) and fit the facts he wanted to it. There were no contrary opinions or background in the complaint, only concerned people and timelines.
- We don’t know why the customary Situation Room memorandum of the Ukraine call was moved from the more open research database to a more classified one. We don’t know the parameters or typical rationale for doing this, because the whistleblower has no idea, other than “gee, it got moved!” because that looks bad.
- It’s ultra-convenient that Speaker Nancy Pelosi took the leash off her impeachment investigation dogs before the transcript or the whistleblower report were made public. This indicates she may have had prior knowledge of witnesses, strategies and hearings that will attend the process.
- As Erick pointed out, the whistleblower complaint provides a roadmap to impeachment, complete with witnesses, documents, discovery and a message. Would this all surface without Democratic staffers already having prepared which witnesses, etc. will be subpoenaed? I think not.
- The Democrats are not–not at the Washington D.C. party level–so stupid as to get out ahead of the facts on this story. It could too easily blow up in their faces. Pelosi would not have given the green light on impeachment investigations if she didn’t already have prep on what that means.
All of that leads me to the conclusion that the whistleblower had help. He was in fact the definition of a political operative embedded in the government, with unique access to people and facts. He was eyes and ears of the Democrats and people who don’t like Trump. I personally think he (or she) should have simply leaked to the press, but that suggestion was met with some strong words when put it out on Twitter.
I’m not the only one who believes this. A twitter thread from Fred Fleitz, who wrote he was a former CIA analyst and NSC official “who edited transcripts of POTUS phone calls with foreign leaders,” agrees with me.
Read the thread, because it makes sense. There are rules about access to sensitive POTUS calls. People don’t just go around leaking them. They don’t discuss it. I have a close friend who, during the first Gulf War was a personal communicator for very highly ranked personnel. He routinely listened in on calls involving the POTUS. Years later, I’ve yet to hear him utter one word about any of them.
The oaths and disclosure documents these individuals sign are taken very seriously–which is why the current DNS Joseph Maguire told the House Intelligence Committee this morning that the “whistleblower did the right thing” and “followed the law every step of the way.” To do otherwise would have opened that person up to massive penalties. But what about those people roped up in the complaint?
All the witnesses will be hauled before the Intelligence Committee–either in open testimony or secretly–and grilled under oath. If any of them disagrees with the narrative, Democrats will keep that classified, but the ones who agree will be played up. This is an easy win for Democrats, who can drag out the investigation for months running up to the election without actually voting to impeach.
I’m of the opinion that they should simply impeach and have Trump take the stand in the Senate, along with all the other witnesses here. I think if Trump abused his office, he should be impeached.
(The meaning of “abused” is one of those malleable terms, because I don’t think Trump and his core supporters would call it “abuse” if Trump shipped a load of untraceable cash in a private jet to Ukraine in exchange for dirt on Biden–because Obama did it, or so goes the tweet.)
In any case, I think it’s political, and though it’s terrible for the nation, and for the stock market, it’s better for us ultimately if the cards are laid on the table, and that this gets done publicly for the country to see before the election. But that’s not what Democrats want. They want to stretch it out until October 2020, with a drumbeat and drip by drip of hearings, witnesses and accusations.
Like the whistleblower, they already know the narrative. Now they just want to tell the story.