Politics: 9 questions about the Trump whistleblower complaint, answered - PressFrom - US
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Politics 9 questions about the Trump whistleblower complaint, answered

06:50  21 september  2019
06:50  21 september  2019 Source:   washingtonpost.com

The Trump whistleblower may not be a whistleblower at all

  The Trump whistleblower may not be a whistleblower at all Who exactly is this unidentified “whistleblower”? What is the specific nature of his or her “urgent concern” complaint against the president?   Does this complaint really qualify under the Intelligence Community Whistleblower Protection Act (ICWPA)?  These are just a few of the most fundamental questions that remain largely unknown.WHISTLEBLOWER COMPLAINT, REPORTEDLY ON TRUMP 'PROMISE' TO FOREIGN LEADER, TOUCHES OFF DC FIRESTORMDespite the paucity of facts, some reasonable observations and conclusions can be drawn.

9 questions about the Trump whistleblower complaint , answered . The big, unanswered questions here are essentially: Did President Trump make some kind of promise to a foreign government (apparently Ukraine) that would involve using official government resources for personal

The unidentified whistleblower filed the complaint with the intelligence community inspector What has Trump said about the complaint ? The president is defending himself by insisting he Scientists are collecting data to understand what is happening so that they can then tackle the question : Why?

Washington has been engulfed in recent days by a fast-evolving story about a whistleblower complaint regarding alleged misdeeds by President Trump.

Given the complexity of it and all the angles involved, here’s an explainer that covers the major points.

1. What did Trump allegedly ‘promise,’ and what’s the big deal?

The big, unanswered questions here are essentially: Did Trump make some kind of promise to a foreign government (apparently Ukraine) that would involve using official government resources for personal gain? And if he didn’t make a promise, how persistent were his efforts to gain foreign assistance?

Schiff says whistleblower wants to talk to House intelligence Committee

  Schiff says whistleblower wants to talk to House intelligence Committee House Intelligence Committee chairman Rep. Adam Schiff announced Tuesday that the whistleblower who filed a mysterious complaint, which includes allegations about President Donald Trump's conduct, would like to speak to the committee. The whistleblower has requested guidance from acting DNI Joseph Maguire on how to do so, Schiff said."We have been informed by the whistleblower's counsel that their client would like to speak to our committee and has requested guidance from the Acting DNI as to how to do so," Schiff tweeted.

But the series of events that preceded the whistleblower complaint — along with Trump ’s Oval Office disclosure of highly classified information to top Russian officials in 2017 and a pledge he said he would make to North Korean leader Kim Jong Un 12 -- and what we’ve since learned about the complaint

Trump dismissed the complaint from a whistleblower within the intelligence community - reported by several U.S. news organizations to involve the Republican Reuters has not confirmed details of the whistleblower 's complaint . But a source familiar with the matter said it alleged "multiple acts" by

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A whistleblower from the U.S. intelligence community filed a complaint Aug. 12 that alleged some kind of wrongdoing at high levels of the U.S. government. But we haven’t seen the complaint, nor has it been shared with Congress.

Thanks to reporting from The Washington Post’s national security team this week, though, we now know that this whistleblower’s complaint involves Trump and alleges that he made some kind of a “promise” to a foreign leader. We then learned that the complaint involves Ukraine. By Friday afternoon, we learned that Trump had pressured Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky in a July 25 call to launch an investigation involving the Bidens. (The Wall Street Journal first reported that and said Trump pressed Zelensky on the matter about eight times)

Whistleblower complaint about Trump delivered to Congress

  Whistleblower complaint about Trump delivered to Congress A whistleblower's complaint about President Donald Trump's communications with Ukraine was hand delivered Wednesday afternoon to Capitol Hill for lawmakers to review. © poolSen. Richard Burr, the Republican chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee, said he has started to read the document but declined to give his initial thoughts. require(["medianetNativeAdOnArticle"], function (medianetNativeAdOnArticle) { medianetNativeAdOnArticle.getMedianetNativeAds(true); }); Members of the Democratic-led House Intelligence Committee are also reviewing the documents.

Even before the whistleblower complaint , House Democrats were investigating a July 25 call with Zelensky as part of their inquiry into whether Trump and his attorney, Rudolph W. Giuliani, tried to manipulate the Analysis 9 questions about the Trump whistleblower complaint , answered .

Whistleblower complaint about President Trump involves Ukraine, according to two people familiar with the matter. Author : Ellen Nakashima. On Thursday, the inspector general testified behind closed doors to members of the House Intelligence Committee about the whistleblower ’s complaint .

Intelligence community Inspector General Michael Atkinson has reviewed the complaint and determined it was credible. Generally, that means there is corroboration beyond just the one source. Atkinson also determined that it was a matter of “urgent concern,” which is a legal threshold that requires notifying the relevant congressional committees. In this case, that would be the intelligence committees.

2. Why isn’t the administration sharing the whistleblower complaint?

Acting director of national intelligence Joseph Maguire has refused to share the complaint, and we learned Friday that the White House Office of Legal Counsel has been involved in efforts to keep it from Congress.

House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam B. Schiff (D-Calif.) said Thursday that he understood that the Justice Department was involved in the decision but that he had not been given an answer as to whether the White House is also involved.

Schiff describes whistleblower complaint as 'most graphic evidence yet' against Trump

  Schiff describes whistleblower complaint as 'most graphic evidence yet' against Trump House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff (D-Calif.) described the whistleblower complaint against President Trump as the "most graphic evidence yet" that Trump has abused his oath of office. © Greg Nash Schiff describes whistleblower complaint as 'most graphic evidence yet' against Trump Trump "sacrificed our national security and the Constitution for his personal political benefit" during a July 25 phone call with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, Schiff said in his opening statement at a hearing on the complaint, which was made public minutes before he spoke.

President Donald Trump answers questions from the news media in the Oval Office of the White House in Ukraine is at the center of a complaint made by a whistleblowing intelligence officer who filed the report Trump on Thursday disputed reports about the whistleblower complaint involving

In a testy interview on CNN on Thursday night, Rudy Giuliani, Trump ’s personal lawyer, offered conflicting answers to questions on whether he had asked Now Maguire is refusing to share details about the whistleblower complaint with the House intelligence committee, asserting that its subject

DNI general counsel Jason Klitenic said in a letter that the complaint “involves confidential and potentially privileged communications.” The Post reports that the White House has stopped short of asserting executive privilege over the complaint, but White House counsel Pat Cipollone has been trying to set up legal obstacles, such as claiming jurisdictional issues, to prevent Maguire from handing it over to Congress.

3. What recourse does Congress have?

This an unusual situation that breaks with traditional protocol, so, as The Fix’s Amber Phillips writes, there are limited tools at Schiff’s disposal. He has already activated one of them.

This week, he subpoenaed both the whistleblower complaint and documents related to the decision to withhold it. Schiff has said that if Maguire doesn’t comply, he will require him to testify in an open session, at which point lawmakers could pepper him with difficult questions. Maguire is scheduled to testify Thursday.

Schiff this week also said that he might sue over the matter and that his committee and the Democratic-controlled House could withhold funding from the DNI’s office until it relents.

Pelosi alleges Trump tried to cover up effort to pressure Ukraine

  Pelosi alleges Trump tried to cover up effort to pressure Ukraine U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi on Thursday charged that President Donald Trump had engaged in an effort to cover up an attempt he made to pressure Ukraine into investigating Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden. © Provided by MediaDC: Washington Newspaper Publishing Company, Inc. Pelosi, speaking to reporters on Capitol Hill, also said an impeachment inquiry launched by House Democrats would focus narrowly on the Ukraine episode and that other instances in which Trump may have abused the power of his office would be considered later.

9 questions about the Trump whistleblower complaint , answered . In the case of the complaint against Trump , outrage has fallen along party lines, but protections for whistleblowers have traditionally received bipartisan support.

Trump also dismissed the reports about the whistleblower complaint , calling it a "presidential harrasment." Schiff subpoenaed Maguire, saying he was withholding a whistleblower complaint from Congress and questioned whether the White House or Attorney General Bill Barr had directed

4. How does this involve Ukraine?

We know little concretely besides that it involves the Eastern European country and the requests from Trump. But the picture is filling out.

The Trump team, and specifically his personal lawyer Rudolph W. Giuliani, has publicly telegraphed a desire to get the Ukrainian government to pursue certain investigations that might carry political benefits for Trump. These include matters involving convicted former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort, the 2016 campaign and the Biden family.

Giuliani this summer even planned a trip to Ukraine, which he readily admitted was intended to benefit Trump by pushing for particular investigations. “I’m asking them to do an investigation that they’re doing already and that other people are telling them to stop,” Giuliani told the New York Times in May. “And I’m going to give them reasons why they shouldn’t stop it because that information will be very, very helpful to my client, and may turn out to be helpful to my government.” Giuliani ended up canceling the trip amid an outcry.

We also know that Trump spoke with Zelensky, the Ukrainian president, on July 25 — 2½ weeks before the whistleblower filed the complaint — and that the administration was withholding $250 million in military aid for Ukraine in late August, before bipartisan pressure forced it to release the funding.

Pelosi, on handling of whistleblower complaint: 'This is a cover-up'

  Pelosi, on handling of whistleblower complaint: 'This is a cover-up' "Our focus is on this allegation," the House speaker said Thursday at her first press conference since announcing a formal impeachment inquiry earlier this week."This is a cover-up. This is a cover-up," Pelosi told reporters at her weekly press conference as she answered questions for the first time since announcing a formal impeachment inquiry on Tuesday evening.

Trump ’s campaign has spent months focused on Biden’s family, attempting to cast the former senator and vice president as a lifelong politician whose family has been personally enriched off his powerful positions. Analysis 9 questions about the Trump whistleblower complaint , answered .

The answer to the once hard-to-fathom question is complicated. The dispute centers on a mysterious whistleblower complaint apparently regarding Trump ’s communications with a foreign leader that acting Director of National Intelligence Joseph Maguire is refusing to share with Congress

5. What do we know about Trump’s phone call with Zelensky on July 25?

Logically, this would seem likely to be the conversation at the heart of the complaint. Given the parties involved in the call — Trump and Zelensky — and its temporal proximity to the complaint, that would make sense.

Trump’s repeated request of Zelensky that Ukraine investigate the Bidens would form one portion of a potential quid pro quo, but our latest reporting is that Trump didn’t mention foreign aid on the call. So it’s not clear what was actually part of the “promise” the whistleblower alleges.

But Atkinson, in his closed-door testimony this week, also said the complaint involves multiple actions and no single communication.

The White House said July 25 that the call involved Trump congratulating Zelensky on his election win this year and that they “discussed ways to strengthen the relationship between the United States and Ukraine, including energy and economic cooperation.”

The Ukrainians, though, said at the time that Trump told Zelensky he was “convinced the new Ukrainian government will be able to quickly improve [the] image of Ukraine, [and] complete [the] investigation of corruption cases, which inhibited the interaction between Ukraine and the USA.”

That last phrase is particularly conspicuous, given what we know now.

6. Why is the Trump team so interested in Ukraine?

For a variety of perhaps unrelated reasons, Trump has eyed developments in Ukraine for potential political gain.

As Philip Bump wrote Friday, the first of these involved a Democratic National Committee consultant who sought information from Ukrainian officials about Manafort, who had previously done work for onetime Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych. This was held up as a counterargument to potential Trump campaign collusion with Russia — the idea being that Democrats might have also colluded, with Ukraine.

Ron Johnson troubled by whistleblower allegation of records 'lock down'

  Ron Johnson troubled by whistleblower allegation of records 'lock down' “I would not be happy. We’ll find out exactly what transpired here," the Wisconsin senator says.In an interview, the Wisconsin Republican, pointed to a reporter’s copy of the whistleblower report, singling out page three, which alleged that White House officials treated records of the Zelensky call differently than other calls.

President Donald Trump is the subject of a whistleblower complaint of "urgent concern" that was filed with the Intelligence Community Inspector General (IC It's not clear who the leader was or what the substance of Trump 's promise was, but the revelation raises new questions about the president's

(RELATED: Mystery Whistleblower Complaint Involves Trump Phone Call With Foreign Leader). Details of the complaint have spilled into public view following a tense battle between House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff and Joseph Maguire, the acting director of national

The other big one — and apparently the more significant one when it comes to what we see today — is the situation involving the Bidens. As The Post’s Michael Kranish and David L. Stern detailed in July, the vice president’s son, Hunter Biden, took a well-paying job on the board of Ukraine’s largest private gas company, Burisma Holdings, late in the Obama administration. That company had been under some scrutiny from Ukrainian Prosecutor General Viktor Shokin. Shokin was removed amid pressure from then-Vice President Biden and other Western leaders, who alleged that he wasn’t pursuing corruption cases seriously enough.

7. How substantial are the allegations against Joe and Hunter Biden?

The contention from Trump, Giuliani, et al., is that Biden was taking an action to benefit his son’s company. Shokin himself alleged to The Post “that the activities of Burisma, the involvement of his son, Hunter Biden, and the [prosecutor general’s office] investigators on his tail, are the only, I emphasize, the only motives for organizing my resignation.”

But Shokin’s contention is questionable, and it’s not clear that he had actually been scrutinizing Burisma at the time; one official said the probe had long been dormant. Shokin had also fallen out of favor with many other Western leaders, as well as with lawmakers in Ukraine, where he was the subject of a decisive vote of no confidence.

Neither of these cases involves readily apparent wrongdoing. But the Trump team seems to regard them as sleeping giants in the 2020 race — or at least issues that could be used to muddy the political waters with the leading Democratic candidate in the race (and the one who polls best against Trump).

8. Where do Joseph Maguire and the Office of the Director of National Intelligence fit into this?

Maguire’s defenders say he’s in a legitimate legal bind, because the law doesn’t countenance this conflict between a president’s executive privilege and the disclosure requirements regarding a whistleblower complaint.

Whistleblower in Ukraine scandal under federal protection: report

  Whistleblower in Ukraine scandal under federal protection: report The whistleblower behind the explosive complaint involving President Trump's efforts to persuade Ukraine's president to investigate former Vice President Joe Biden and his son Hunter is currently under federal protection, CBS News reported Sunday. © Provided by News Communications, Inc. Whistleblower in Ukraine scandal under federal protection: report "60 Minutes" host Scott Pelley announced the network had obtained a letter indicating the whistleblower is under protection because they fear for their safety.

He berated reporters for asking about the whistleblower complaint . The standoff raises fresh questions about the extent to which Trump 's allies Trump was asked Friday if be brought up Biden in the call with Zelensky, and he answered , "It doesn't matter what I discussed." But then he used the

Regardless of whether you sympathize with him, though, he finds himself in an inauspicious position. Trump named him acting DNI a little more than a month ago under slightly controversial circumstances. After it was announced that then-DNI Daniel Coats would be resigning, Trump bypassed Coats’s No. 2, Sue Gordon, who had extensive bipartisan support, in favor of Maguire as the acting DNI. (Gordon resigned and subtly protested the decision in a brief letter.) Maguire, a retired Navy admiral, was also a somewhat unorthodox pick for the job, given his lack of experience in the U.S. intelligence community.

The overlapping timelines of Coats’s resignation, Maguire’s elevation and the whistleblower complaint are also raising eyebrows. Trump announced the exit of Coats, with whom he occasionally clashed, on July 28. That’s three days after his call with Zelensky. Trump announced Maguire’s selection Aug. 8. Four days later, the whistleblower complaint was filed.

The practical impact is that Maguire, who was Senate-confirmed but for a different job, has been thrust into a high-profile position that now involves making a very difficult legal and political call for an intelligence community in which he isn’t exactly steeped.

9. How bad is this for Trump and his presidency?

That’s the other big question right now. It’s too early to know whether it will be proved that Trump did anything wrong. Even if we see the complaint, it’s not certain that things happened exactly as the whistleblower said they did. And just because Trump pushed for investigating the Bidens doesn’t mean there is a provable quid pro quo.

Any specific legal violations would depend on those details. Asking for foreign assistance is problematic in and of itself, but this is also the president who publicly asked for Russia to obtain Hillary Clinton’s emails in 2016 and has indicated repeatedly that he was open to foreign help. The more troubling possibility (and the one raised specifically by the “promise” allegation) is that this might involve outright government corruption — the trading of favors for personal gain.

Of course, even if Trump violated the law, we’re in the same position as we are with obstruction of justice and Michael Cohen’s campaign finance violation (in which Trump has been implicated but not accused of a crime). And that position is: Justice Department guidelines say a sitting president can’t be indicted, thus any remedy would be Congress’s responsibility, via potential impeachment proceedings.

The constitutional definition of an impeachable offense — “high crimes and misdemeanors” — is a subjective one that means basically whatever Congress determines it means. So the real question is whether serious wrongdoing by Trump in this case would rally public and political support in a way we haven’t yet seen for impeachment and/or removal from office.

In the background are other highly controversial things Trump has done, most notable being his potential obstruction of justice in the Russia investigation. But thus far, public support for impeachment is far short of a majority, and Republicans, who control the Senate and can easily prevent Trump’s removal from office, have shown no appetite for going down that road. Democrats have thus proceeded somewhat timidly. And with the 2020 election approaching, they might reason that the election would be the best way to decide how Trump is held accountable.

As far as that race goes, Trump finds himself in a tough spot. He has low approval ratings and trails most Democrats he potentially faces in 2020, including by double digits in the case of Biden. One more big scandal would seem to cement his underdog status, but there is plenty of time until November 2020.

Whistleblower in Ukraine scandal under federal protection: report .
The whistleblower behind the explosive complaint involving President Trump's efforts to persuade Ukraine's president to investigate former Vice President Joe Biden and his son Hunter is currently under federal protection, CBS News reported Sunday. © Provided by News Communications, Inc. Whistleblower in Ukraine scandal under federal protection: report "60 Minutes" host Scott Pelley announced the network had obtained a letter indicating the whistleblower is under protection because they fear for their safety.

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