Moon of Alabama Brecht quote
September 28, 2019

On The Motives Behind Whistleblower-gate

The recent impeachment inquiry against President Donald Trump is the second attempt by the CIA and the Democratic establishment to sabotage Trump's presidency. The first attempt was the 'Russiagate' conspiracy theory which falsely claimed that Trump colluded with the Russian government to win the election. It took more than two years to defeat it. It had the intended side effect that it disabled Trump from making peace with Russia.

The second is likewise run by the CIA and the Democratic establishment. The CIA created an artificial issue that the Democrats used to justify the launch of an impeachment process against Trump. The impeachment attempt has little chance to dethrone Trump. But the affair will again hamstring any attempts for better relations with Russia.  The operation is also designed to further prevent Trump digging into the background of Russiagate and the people behind it.

The second attempt is a simpler construct than Russiagate. A CIA operative who was temporarily delegated to the White House constructed a 'whistleblower complaint' that is completely based on hearsay and public sources. It is also about issues that are outside of the CIA's immediate business.

Until very recently the intelligence community complaint form required that any claimant had first hand knowledge of the complaint issue. The form was changed in August (more here) but uploaded only on September 24 to also allow for hearsay to be the basis of a complaint. This reinforces the impression that the complaint is part of a larger intelligence operations. Who initiated the change?

The whistleblower statute says that the matter in question must be an "urgent concern" that is defined as:

... a serious or flagrant problem, abuse, violation of law or Executive order, or deficiency relating to the funding, administration, or operations of an intelligence activity involving classified information, but does not include differences of opinions concerning public policy matters

At the core of the complaint in question is a claim that Trump used a phone call with President Volodymyr Zelensky of the Ukraine to press Zelensky to investigate two issues. The call memorandum was declassified and published.

During the phone call Zelensky had two requests. He wanted U.S. anti-tank weapons and he wanted an invitation to the White House. (He got both.) Trump also had a request. He asked that Ukrainian authorities investigate two issues of U.S. public interest. The first is the reported interferences by Ukrainian government officials in favor of Hillary Clinton during the 2016 election campaign. This also involved the notorious security company CrowdStrike which made some false claims about Russian hacking in the Ukraine. The second one is the also well-know intervention by then Vice-President Joe Biden against a Ukrainian Attorney General who had an open investigation against a company that was sponsoring his son Hunter Biden.

The U.S.and the Ukraine have a treaty that requires them to cooperate on law enforcement matters. That Trump wanted the Ukrainian authorities to investigated these issues was well known. His personal lawyer Rudi Giuliani had said for several months that he was looking into these questions.

The issues pointed out in the complaint are clearly beyond the scope of the whistleblower statute. Trump's actions with regard to the Ukraine, especially the phone call, were neither outside of any law nor do they involve any intelligence activity. What Trump did during the call was not nefarious. The issue is clearly a question of "differences in opinion concerning public policy matters".

A whistleblower complaint must be send to the relevant agency’s inspector general. If he finds it credible it goes to the head of the agency who decides if it is within the statute and, if it is, sends the complaint to Congress. The agency’s inspector general Michael Atkinson found the complaint 'credible' but, after seeking legal advice, the acting director of national intelligence Joseph Maguire did not forward it to Congress. It was the right thing to do as the content of the complaint is neither 'whistleblowing' nor within the relevant statute.

What happened next is curious:

The agency’s inspector general, Michael Atkinson, notified Congress that the complaint existed but says he and Maguire have reached an “impasse” over whether to turn it over.

I have found no legal analysis if this was a required move or outside of the usual process. After that step was taken details of the complaint  leaked to the press as they were supposed to do.

The Democrats immediately raised a public ruckus and demanded to see the complaint and call transcript and to have them declassified. They likely hoped that Trump would fight them over this. But Trump immediately obliged. He had nothing to fear. A diligent reading of the phone call memo and the complaint shows that there is nothing illegal or otherwise condemnable in his behavior towards the Ukraine. One may not like what he does as president but that does not make it illegal.

Despite the lack of any sound basis the Democrats announced an impeachment inquiry even as it has little public support and will drown out any positive momentum for policy issues the Democratic primary candidates want to promote. The impeachment inquiry will run right along the lines laid out in the complaint.

The complaint and the Democrats claim that Trump held back loans from the Ukraine to press Zelensky on the issue. Zelensky denies he even knew that the loans were withheld and said that it was a non-issue.

The Hill @thehill - 20:31 UTC · Sep 27, 2019
Sen. Chris Murphy: "In my meeting...Zelensky did not make any connection between the aid that had been cut off & the requests that he was getting from Giuliani but the Ukrainian govt certainly thru multiple channels was expressing their confusion about who they should listen to."

Sen. Chris Murphy (D-Conn.) has himself intervened with Zelensky:

While choosing his words carefully, Murphy made clear — by his own account — that Ukraine currently enjoyed bipartisan support for its U.S. aid but that could be jeopardized if the new president acquiesced to requests by President Trump’s lawyer Rudy Giuliani to investigate past corruption allegations involving Americans, including former Vice President Joe Biden’s family.

The Democrats say that it is unfair that Trump is asking the Ukraine to investigate Joe Biden who currently leads in the Democrats' primary. They claim that he wants the material only to smear Biden.

But there is no need to smear Biden. He himself proudly told the story (vid) of how he blackmailed the Ukrainian government. It is also widely known that his son Hunter had an affair with his sister-in-law while his brother was fighting cancer, spent extravagantly on drugs and prostitutes according to his former wife and was dishonorably discharged from the Navy Reserve for cocaine use.

Three weeks after Joe Biden had helped to overthrow the Ukrainian government his not so honorable son Hunter Biden was invited to take a $50,000 per month board seat of Burisma, a Ukrainian gas producer whose owner, Mykola Zlochevsky, was under investigation for corruption and tax evasion. Hunter Biden did not know anything about the Ukraine or natural gas. The company had only one reason to hire him and that was his father.

A few months later Joe Biden withheld a $1 billion loan guarantee to get the Ukrainian prosecutor general who was running the corruption investigation against Burisma fired. Biden claimed that he wanted the prosecutor general to go because he was corrupt and that the case against Burisma was already closed. But several recently revealed papers show that those claims are false. More dirt about Biden's actions in Ukraine is just coming out.

By opening the impeachment inquiry the Democrats, not Trump, highlight Biden's corruption and throw him under the bus. That maybe a welcome side effect for the Democratic establishment which prefers that the second incarnation of Hillary Clinton, Senator Elizabeth Warren, wins the primaries.

There is other dirt that the Democrats may fear.

During the 2016 election campaign Alexandra Chalupa, a Ukrainian-American who worked for the Democratic National Committee had contacts with the Ukrainian embassy. She asked for digging up dirt on Trump's campaign manager Paul Manafort who had worked in the Ukraine. Soon a mysterious ledger was found by an anonymous person in the burned out headquarter of an Ukrainian party which allegedly showed that Manafort had received large amounts of black money. The ledger was an obvious favor by the Ukrainians for the Clinton campaign. Trump had to fire Manafort who was later sentenced for tax evasion and other unrelated crimes. Trump wants to pardon Manafort and needs some public reason to do so. If the Ukrainians find that the ledger was faked at the request of the DNC the issue might well fall back on the Democrats.

But what is the intent of the CIA in organizing the clearly abnormal whistleblower complaint?

Here we have to look at the second request Trump made to Zelensky. He wants to know more about Russiagate. During that operation, which was directed by Obama's spy chief John Brennan, the 'former' MI6 agent Christopher Steele created a fake dossier of alleged collusion between Trump and the Kremlin. The dossier was used to justify FBI spying on the Trump campaign. It is quite possible that some of Steele's 'Russian' sources were actually from the Ukraine.

There are also a number of loose ends from the 2014 coup in Ukraine which the CIA will not like to have disclosed. Zelensky had promised to restart the investigation into the Maidan massacre. The CIA would surely like to prevent any disclosure of its heavy involvement in that affair.

Good relations with Trump would have helped Zelensky to achieve his aims. It would have hindered better CIA control over Zelensky. The disclosure and ruckus about the phone call will make it more difficult for Trump and Zelensky to cooperate. That part of the plan worked.

But there is also already a casualty on the side of the plotters against Trump.

The new Ukrainian president was looking for ways to make peace with Russia and had hoped that Trump would help him. The hawks had installed Kurt Volker as U.S. Special Representative for Ukraine to prevent any such moves. Volker, a former U.S. ambassador to NATO, had been hired by then Secretary of State Rex Tillerson but had demanded no pay. Volker is the hawkish head of the McCain Institute which received donations from George Soros' Open Society. He is also a partner in a public relation company that was hired by then President of Ukraine Poroshenko.

The whistleblower complaint says that Volker visited Zelensky on July 26, one day after his call with Trump, to "provide advice to the Ukrainian leadership about how to 'navigate' the demands that the President had made of Mr. Zelenskyy."

Volker was the 'borg' member sent to Ukraine to exercise control over the Ukrainian government. He clearly tried to sabotage Trump's efforts to push Zelensky to investigate the Ukrainian side of the Russiagate and Biden affairs. Volker also wanted to prevent better relations with Russia:

As Trump's special representative for Ukraine negotiations, Volker strongly supported a shift in policy to send lethal weapons to Kyiv, including tank-busting Javelins, described by its manufacturer as "the world's most versatile and lethal one-man-portable, anti-tank, guided munition and surveillance weapon system."

But at the same time Volker was pushing to convince Trump to arm Ukraine, he also held positions with a major lobbying firm, BGR Group, and with a think tank, the McCain Institute, that both had financial ties to Raytheon Company, which manufactures the Javelin system and earned millions from Trump's decision.

Yesterday Volker suddenly left his job. Why? Was he one of those who fed the whistleblower with content for his complaint? That Volker leaves now, before being fired by Trump for sabotaging his requests to and relations with Zelensky, is likely an unintended consequence of the whistleblower operation.

If Trump is as smart as he thinks he will install a new special representative to the Ukraine who does his bidding.

How about Rudi Giuliani?

Posted by b on September 28, 2019 at 19:56 UTC | Permalink

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don bacon

You mean the Democrats who are investigating the constitutionality of Trump's request for Zelensky's help finding dirt on his 2020 political opponent?

This is the truth.

Posted by: donkeytale | Sep 29 2019 14:38 utc | 101

On corruption, the US leads the world financially so it has no business talking about corruption in far-off places on some holier-than-thou pretenses.

Posted by: Don Bacon | Sep 29 2019 14:41 utc | 102

@ dt 101
Democrats who are investigating the the constitutionality of Trump's request

Posted by: Don Bacon | Sep 29 2019 14:43 utc | 103

pantaraxia @82: the actual owner of Burisma[?] ... 'godfather' of Ukraine.

Very important question. We know that in 2013 Kolomoisky was attempting to buy/takeover Burisma. Kolomoisky-friendly Board members were appointed after that.

But anti-Kolomoisky actions by Ukraine government might've meant that the buyout/takeover had to be done surreptitiously. In December 2016 PrivatBank was nationalized and Kolomoisky left the country until after Zelensky was elected.

Kolomoisky is now seeking $2 billion compensation for the nationalization of PrivatBank - a bank that he had run into the ground as he used it to fund his own projects.

Kolomoisky is a menace. He's one of the worst of the oligarchs. More gangster than businessman.

Posted by: Jackrabbit | Sep 29 2019 14:46 utc | 104

Don Bacon

please stop wasting my time with your disingenuousness or at least re-read my comment honestly. Or maybe go to law school?

The House Intelligence Committee is conducting an impeachment investigation.

Presidential impeachment requires evidence of the President violating the Constitution.

Thus, the Democrats (through the House Intelligence Committee) are investigating whether Trump's actions were unconstitutional, not whether they were unfair.

Posted by: donkeytale | Sep 29 2019 14:53 utc | 105

Sorry, Trump has a big thing to hide in that phone call.

Because Trump is asking that Ukraine investigate, or aid in the investigation, of a potential Trump opponent in the fall of 2020, namely Joe Biden. If Biden weren't running then Trump's request wouldn't matter, and likely wouldn't have occurred.

But that request absolutely crosses a legal line in the context of the US presidential election.

(Now Joe Biden is a horrid candidate for the nomination, and this impeachment enquiry looks to be a last desperate effort to help Joe B win the nomination. Instead he'll likely again spew racist nonsense in a debate later this fall. He's already been caught flagrantly lying about his support for the Iraq invasion. And his memory is failing.)

Outside of the upcoming 2020 election in the USA, the Bidens, both father and son, should absolutely be investigated for corruption in Ukraine, but Trump can't have gone requesting that in 2019 or 2020 for that matter.

Yes, sure it would be interesting to see what Ukraine knows about Crowdstrike and efforts to help Hillary in 2016, but she's passed. No matter what fantasies people have about a Hillary revival.

Posted by: Jay | Sep 29 2019 14:54 utc | 106

There are no angels in this fight, no white knight is going to come riding to the rescue either. It's just mud wrestling amongst the 1%. As I see it Trump just has a different 'business model' than his opponents, and is less inclined to hide his crassness and greed. As digging into the Jeffry Epstein muck showed, the whole lot cares only for their own selfish and destructive interests. Reading Eric Zuesse's investigative piece shows the tangled web of oligarchal interests connects both sides and there is no incentive to work for altruistic goals that might benefit 'normal folks'. A pox on the lot.

Posted by: the pessimist | Sep 29 2019 14:58 utc | 107

@ dt 105
The Congress pursuing impeachment under the Constitution doesn't mean that Trump violated the Constitution.
Duh, that's Logic 101.
So you shouldn't dispute b's comment (at your 94) with a made-up "fact." That's not nice.

Posted by: Don Bacon | Sep 29 2019 15:03 utc | 108

@ Jay 106
But that request absolutely crosses a legal line in the context of the US presidential election.
What legal line does it cross?

Posted by: Don Bacon | Sep 29 2019 15:05 utc | 109

donkeytale @105:

... investigating whether Trump's actions were unconstitutional, not whether they were unfair.

The President can be impeached for "high crimes and misdermeaners". That is much broader than unconstitutional acts.

Notably, Bill Clinton was impeached for lying under oath and obstruction of justice related to a sexual dalliance. Those matters of criminal law and not unconstitutional. And the underlying act (sex with an intern) is also not a Constitutional matter.

Posted by: Jackrabbit | Sep 29 2019 15:12 utc | 110

Jay @106:

... that request absolutely crosses a legal line in the context of the US presidential election.

Biden will wear Trump's contempt as a badge of honor.

He'll say that Trump is gunning for him because he is threatened by Biden's political campaign.

<> <> <> <> <>

Any way you look at it, this complaint/impeachment is a nothingburger.

Posted by: Jackrabbit | Sep 29 2019 15:18 utc | 111

So the Germans are upset with Zelinsky for agreeing with Trump that they and the French aren't doing enough to help the Ukraine and aren't enforcing the sanctions against Russia vigorously enough. I don't believe he will last - too wet behind the ears and not nearly ruthless enough. The puppet will likely be discarded.

Posted by: the pessimist | Sep 29 2019 15:20 utc | 112

The Congress pursuing impeachment under the Constitution doesn't mean that Trump violated the Constitution.
Duh, that's Logic 101.
So you shouldn't dispute b's comment (at your 94) with a made-up "fact." That's not nice.

I didn't make up any facts. Your statement is ridiculous and also self-contradictory.

What I said at 94 was Democrats ('the Congress') are investigating unconstitutionality not unfairness. And I implied that b was using weasel words instead of stating the plain truth of the matter.

Posted by: donkeytale | Sep 29 2019 15:25 utc | 113

@ dt 113
Give it up. Your stupid remarks are tiresome. Just apologize and end it.

Posted by: Don Bacon | Sep 29 2019 15:31 utc | 114

Let's say that Trump really did intend to pressure Zelinsky to provide compromising information on Biden. Is that supposed to be more scandalous than the other things that this president (and others) have done? How his pressuring this guy for information supposed to be worse than starting wars that have killed hundreds of thousands of people?

Trump (and Obama)'s foreign policy is the real scandal!

Posted by: Timothy Hagios | Sep 29 2019 15:31 utc | 115

@barrisj #27
There is, if the person who believes "Fancy Bear" is actually the Ukrainian SBU (intelligence agency), is correct.
Crowdstrike also said "The Russians" had infiltrated Ukrainian artillery - that was then debunked by the Ukrainian military itself.
Then there's the DNC emails: as "b" himself noted, there are any number of connections between Ukrainian embassy/Ukrainians and the DNC/Crowdstrike part of that story, including the 3 Chalupa sisters.

Posted by: c1ue | Sep 29 2019 15:32 utc | 116

JR - of course impeachment requires violation of the constitution. The term "high crimes and misdemeanors" originates in the Constitution, so you, just as Don Bacon here, actually support my argument with yours rather than debase it.

Also, violating the Constitution doesn't necessarily require criminality.

And of course we already know the Justice Dept has ruled a sitting President cannot be removed from office for a criminal indictment.

Impeachment requires violating the Constitution, donkeytale said again for the third or fourth time, etc. ad nauseum. Lol

The GOP were forced to create some constitutional basis for impeaching Clinton, I disremember what. But that was one of their dilemmas at the time as I recall.

Posted by: donkeytale | Sep 29 2019 15:33 utc | 117

@bevin #44
It isn't clear from what you wrote - but is the intent to enable only an insurgent to run against Trump (i.e. Sanders) deliberate?
I would think not, given the corporate Democrats aversion to him, but please confirm or deny.

Posted by: c1ue | Sep 29 2019 15:34 utc | 118

Don Bacon here you are violating Logic 101

The MSM, especially CNN and MSNBC, has been shoveling dirt on Trump since he won the election in 2016, including the fake dossier, but Trump looking for dirt on his principal opponent in 2020 is wrong?

Conflating the actions of the MSM "the Press" with Trump "the POTUS" is a non-sequitor.

You are simply offering your uneducated opinion which like a certain body part, we all have one.

Posted by: donkeytale | Sep 29 2019 15:37 utc | 119

@jadan #90
I fear your moral criteria for President means we're never going to have one again.

Posted by: c1ue | Sep 29 2019 15:38 utc | 120

donkeytale: I disremember

When you undisremember, let us know. Until then, it's just bullcrap.

As Don Bacon has already pointed out, impeachment as a constitutional process has no bearing on the reason for impeachment.

Posted by: Jackrabbit | Sep 29 2019 15:46 utc | 121

JR - Lol. OK. What does this even mean, especially in the context of my discussion with Don Bacon?

As Don Bacon has already pointed out, impeachment as a constitutional process has no bearing on the reason for impeachment.

The reason for presidential impeachment has to be a violation of the Constitution. In Clinton's case it was determined he violated his sworn Constitutional duty because he lied under oath about committing adultery.

Posted by: donkeytale | Sep 29 2019 15:55 utc | 122

From TASS:

No probe into company linked with Biden’s son — Ukraine’s National Anti-Corruption Bureau

KIEV, September 27. /TASS/. Ukraine’s National Anti-Corruption Bureau is not probing into the activities of Burisma holding company linked with former US Vice-President Josef Biden’s son Hunter, the Bureau said on Friday.

Apparently, it was too long ago

Posted by: Barovsky | Sep 29 2019 16:08 utc | 123

You all have a remedial understanding of geo-politics at best. Trump's an actor cast to play President in a reality show called "The President," and it looks like you're obviously the demographic they're hoping to reach in order to reach maximum ratings. Good jog. Dummies.

Posted by: Anon | Sep 29 2019 16:36 utc | 124

And what does that make you?

Posted by: Barovsky | Sep 29 2019 17:01 utc | 125

Here is a question for everyone: As a 66 year old US citizen I do not care whether Trump is impeached. I have seen very little change in US foreign policy no matter who is in power. In the words of Hilary Clinton "At this point what difference does it make?" Or the Who "Meet the new boss, same as the old boss". In fact, wouldn't it be poetic justice if Trump was removed from office, since he has spent so much time and money trying to remove the leaders of Syria, Iran, and Venezuela.

Posted by: El Cartero Atómico | Sep 29 2019 18:57 utc | 126

Federal judges have been convicted in Senate impeachment trials for mere criminal behavior, like taking bribes, without any violation of the Constitution being involved.

Posted by: lysias | Sep 29 2019 21:17 utc | 127

Ukraine must investigate Joe Biden's son, says ex-Ukrainian PM

MOSCOW/KIEV (Reuters) Sep 28, 2019 - Ukraine must investigate the activities of U.S. presidential candidate Joe Biden’s son to establish whether his role in a Ukrainian gas company complied with the country’s laws, Mykola Azarov, Ukraine’s former prime minister, said in an interview.
“If, using his knowledge, he played an active role then there’s nothing scandalous about it,” Azarov said. “But if he was simply on the books and getting money, then that could be seen as a violation of the law.”
Hunter Biden was a director on Burisma’s board from 2014 until at least 2018, according to documents filed by the company in Cyprus, where it is registered.
Ukraine’s National Anti-Corruption Bureau said on Friday it was investigating activity at Burisma between 2010-2012, but that it was not looking into changes to its board in 2014, when Hunter Biden joined. . .here

Posted by: Don Bacon | Sep 29 2019 21:31 utc | 128

@ Jackrabbit | 121
As Don Bacon has already pointed out, impeachment as a constitutional process has no bearing on the reason for impeachment.
I love me some Jackrabbit.

Posted by: Don Bacon | Sep 30 2019 2:22 utc | 129

Piotr Berman @ 96

I don't recall what high crimes & misdemeanors Bill Clinton was guilty of. Wasn't even any actual sex since we know that Monica's oral caress of her President was not really sex.

Impeachment is a political act. Trump is a compulsive liar and a conman, not to mention that he's also a psychological basket case and a danger to himself and others. He has weaseled out of responsibility for his own actions all his privileged life and as president he has more weasel power than he ever did.

I hope the sob is driven out of Washington tarred & feathered on a rail. The fact that he is broadly hated is reason enough. The rule of law is not violated because there is no definition of "high crimes & misdemeanors". That about covers it all, don't you think, from betrayal of national security concerns to paying off a porn star he couldn't resist to thumbing his nose at parking tickets?

It's just political theatre. Like an election, it's just prevailing opinion.

Posted by: jadan | Sep 30 2019 3:25 utc | 130

@ jadan with the clear description of the current rules based US president....not to be confused with rule of law

Thanks for that. Trump presents the true face of Western empire and their exceptionalism based view of the rest of us pond scum that are under the thumb of rule of law while their rules of constraint are based on how much money/power they have.

Posted by: psychohistorian | Sep 30 2019 3:40 utc | 131

The fact that this issue causes me to want to support Trump in spite of what an inept and duplicitous leader he has been, has b/s meter going off scale.

Either side may be correct however as Peter AU, so pragmatically notes, American infrastructure is literally crumbling and dangerous country becoming more insolvent and non competitive more innocent people are being killed by our mercenary army of the oligarcs.

Surely eventually the public will wake to see the devastation and decay that is our once decent nation?

Posted by: jared | Sep 30 2019 14:15 utc | 132

@jared #133

Surely eventually the public will wake to see the devastation and decay that is our once decent nation?

Isn't that why Trump is in the White House?

Posted by: c1ue | Oct 1 2019 4:20 utc | 133

Jackrabbit @111:

Biden will wear Trump's contempt as a badge of honor.

He'll say that Trump is gunning for him because he is threatened by Biden's political campaign.

Sure enough:

Biden Tells Trump: "You're Not Going To Destroy Me":

"He did it because, like every bully in history — he’s afraid," said Biden on Wednesday. "He’s afraid of just how badly I would beat him next November."

Posted by: Jackrabbit | Oct 3 2019 16:33 utc | 134

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