THE WHISTLEBLOWER COMPLAINT REVEALS COVER UP. The whistleblower complaint has been made public. The explosive document that focused on President Trump’s request of Ukraine’s government to investigate Joe Biden alleges White House officials moved the records of some of Trump’s corrupt or damaging communications with foreign officials onto a separate computer network, the Washington Post reports.
From the complaint, it’s clear that the White House is bitterly divided. Many around Trump are clearly unnerved by his actions — and are talking about it — while others are apparently assisting in a concerted effort to cover up the president’s activities. The whistleblower said that “more than half a dozen U.S. officials have informed me of various facts related to this effort.” All of these people are all potential witnesses in the House impeachment inquiry.
Just Security: “According to a person familiar with the content of the complaint who spoke to Just Security, when the call was over, senior White House officials pulled the verbatim transcript out of the system that it is traditionally stored on and moved it into a separate system reserved for extremely sensitive/highly compartmented programs.”
“This person said that the call between the two leaders had nothing to do with highly classified programs. But, by moving it into this separate system, the White House could control who could see the transcript: only a very small group of people.”
DNI DIRECTOR TESTIFIES. Acting Director of National Intelligence Joseph Maguire is trying to avoid being political in this morning’s House Intelligence Committee hearing. When asked by Chairman Adam Schiff (D-CA) whether he thought the whistleblower was a “political hack,” as President Trump asserted, Maguire said the person was “acting in good faith” and eventually told Schiff: “I think the whistleblower did the right thing.”
During the hearing, Democrats harshly criticized acting DNI Joseph Maguire for his handling of the whistleblower complaint. While Maquire said he had genuine concerns over White House claims of executive privilege, Democrats said he broke the law by not bringing the complaint directly to congressional intelligence committees. Republicans spent little time defending Trump’s actions described in the whistleblower’s complaint. Instead, they pulled out their Russia investigation playbook and repeatedly called the controversy a “hoax” created by Democrats and the media.
Clare Malone: “A thing that we are seeing with the Maguire testimony is the tightrope walking he does to make sure he stays on the president’s good side in order to maintain his confidence — something Maguire explicitly says is necessary in order for him to maintain influence re: intelligence activities. We’re seeing the lengths that Maguire went to in order to make sure that he wasn’t getting on the wrong side of the White House.”
“Maguire continues to say that this complaint is ‘unprecedented,’ but I also wonder how he would act in the same situation with a president of a different personality. Would he have been less careful/parsing about his decision to submit a report to Congress? It’s an unknowable thing, but so much of this revolves around Trump’s personality and well-documented capriciousness, I think.”
TRUMP THREATENS EXECUTION OF WHISTLEBLOWER. President Trump expressed disgust with the explosive whistleblower complaint, slamming the intelligence officer and those White House aides who helped him or her as “almost a spy” and suggested it was treason, the Los Angeles Times reports.
Said Trump: “I want to know who’s the person who gave the whistle-blower the information because that’s close to a spy. You know what we used to do in the old days when we were smart with spies and treason, right? We used to handle it a little differently than we do now.”
Listen to the audio.
UKRAINE UNDERSTOOD IT WAS BEING EXTORTED. An adviser to Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelensky told ABC News that President Trump’s desire for the two leaders to discuss a possible investigation into Joe Biden was a precondition for their July 25th phone call. Said the adviser: “It was clear that Trump will only have communications if they will discuss the Biden case. This issue was raised many times. I know that Ukrainian officials understood.”
THE ORIGINS OF WHISTLEGATE. Murray Waas: “The effort by President Trump to pressure the government of Ukraine to investigate former Vice President Joe Biden and his son had its origins in an earlier endeavor to obtain information that might provide a pretext and political cover for the president to pardon his former campaign chairman, Paul Manafort, according to previously undisclosed records.”
“These records indicate that attorneys representing Trump and Manafort respectively had at least nine conversations relating to this effort, beginning in the early days of the Trump administration, and lasting until as recently as May of this year. Through these deliberations carried on by his attorneys, Manafort exhorted the White House to press Ukrainian officials to investigate and discredit individuals, both in the US and in Ukraine, who he believed had published damning information about his political consulting work in the Ukraine.”
“A person who participated in the joint defense agreement between President Trump and others under investigation by Special Counsel Robert Mueller, including Manafort, allowed me to review extensive handwritten notes that memorialized conversations relating to Manafort and Ukraine between Manafort’s and Trump’s legal teams, including Trump’s personal attorney, Rudy Giuliani.”
WHISTLEBLOWER AGREES TO TESTIFY. “The anonymous whistleblower who filed a complaint with the intelligence community inspector general, which includes allegations about President Trump’s conduct, has tentatively agreed to meet with congressional lawmakers,” CNN reports.
“The meeting could take place on the condition that acting Director of National Intelligence Joseph Maguire approves appropriate security clearances for the individual’s legal counsel so that they can accompany their client.”
HIS OR HER IDENTIFY REVEALED? “The whistle-blower who revealed that President Trump sought foreign help for his re-election and that the White House sought to cover it up is a C.I.A. officer who was detailed to work at the White House at one point,” the New York Times reports.
“The man has since returned to the C.I.A., the people said. Little else is known about him. His complaint made public Thursday suggested he was an analyst by training and made clear he was steeped in details of American foreign policy toward Europe, demonstrating a sophisticated understanding of Ukrainian politics and at least some knowledge of the law.”
“Lawyers for the whistle-blower refused to confirm that he worked for the C.I.A. and said that publishing information about him was dangerous.”
PELOSI CALLS IT A COVERUP, WANTS INTEL TO TAKE LEAD. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) slammed President Donald Trump and the White House’s actions detailed in a whistleblower complaint as “a cover-up” on Thursday.
During a press conference, Pelosi read aloud the section of the complaintthat described how top White House officials attempted to “lock down” records of Trump’s call with Ukraine to protect the President from political backlash.
“This is a cover-up,” Pelosi concluded. “This is a cover-up.”
Although Speaker Nancy Pelosi said that the House committees should continue their impeachment inquiry, she made clear that the Intelligence committee should be taking the lead given the narrow focus of the probe, CNN reports.
TRUMP’S FRENETIC RESPONSE. Washington Post: “The helter-skelter way the administration handled the aftermath of the whistleblower complaint could be a harbinger of the coming impeachment fight, with the White House scrambling to respond to a mercurial and frustrated president, who is increasingly sidelining his aides and making decisions based on gut instinct.”
“Even some allies of the president worry that his team may not fully understand the potential upheaval that an impeachment fight could wreak on Trump and his administration, especially as he heads into the 2020 election.”
“Questionable rapid-pace decisions spurred by President Trump himself have left some allies wondering if there’s a cogent strategy in place to counter Democrats in the wake of the fast-moving impeachment inquiry,” CNN reports. “Some people close to him believe the President is in denial about the gravity of his predicament.”
The Washington Post reports that at least two Cabinet officials advised against release the readout of Trump’s phone call with Ukraine’s president: Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, who “vociferously argued against it.”
CRACKS IN THE GOP. “Several Senate Republicans were privately stunned Wednesday and questioned the White House’s judgment after it released a rough transcript of President Trump’s call with the Ukraine president that showed Trump offering the help of the U.S. attorney general to investigate Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden,” the Washington Postreports.
“One Senate Republican, who spoke on the condition of anonymity to speak candidly, said the transcript’s release was a “huge mistake” that the GOP now has to confront and defend — while the party argues at the same time that House Democrats are overreaching with their impeachment inquiry of Trump.”
COATS SAYS HE WAS UNAWARE OF WHISTLEBLOWER COMPLAINT. Former Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats told the Indianapolis Star that he didn’t know about the whistleblower complaint saying President Trump made inappropriate demands of the Ukraine president.
Said Coats: “Nothing came to me. I left on Aug. 15… The very next day that was presented to Joe. I feel so bad for Joe. He is caught in a squeeze here and the lawyers are divided. So they are trying to work all that out. That’s about all I can say about that.”
GIULIANI IS DERANGED. Elaina Plott spoke to Rudy Giuliani following the release of the whistleblower report and “he was, put simply, very angry.” Said Giuliani: “It is impossible that the whistle-blower is a hero and I’m not. And I will be the hero! These morons—when this is over, I will be the hero.”
He added: “I’m not acting as a lawyer. I’m acting as someone who has devoted most of his life to straightening out government. Anything I did should be praised.” “Giuliani then unleashed a rant about the Bidens, Hillary Clinton, the Clinton Foundation, Barack Obama, the media, and the ‘deep state.’”
Rudy Giuliani told CNN he has “no knowledge of any of that crap” in the newly-released complaint from an American intelligence community whistleblower.
Asked about details from the complaint that multiple US officials were “deeply concerned” about his activities speaking with Ukrainian officials and nationals, Giuliani called the charge “total nonsense.”Giuliani also claimed he had a “nice little trail” of text message conversations to prove his story.
TRUMP’S OTHER UKRAINE PROBLEM. “Buried in the controversy over President Trump’s phone call with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky was an effort by the Ukrainian leader at currying favor with Trump through his business,” the Washington Post reports.
Said Zelensky: “Actually, last time I traveled to the United States, I stayed in New York near Central Park, and I stayed at the Trump Tower.”
“Zelensky’s comments mark the first known example of an interaction Democrats and government ethics experts warned about when Trump took office: that foreign leaders would try to influence Trump by spending money at his properties and telling him about it.”
UKRAINIAN PROSECUTOR CLEARS BIDEN. A former top Ukrainian prosecutor told the Washington Post that he believed that Hunter Biden did not run afoul of any laws in Ukraine.
VERMONT REPUBLICAN GOVERNOR SUPPORTS IMPEACHMENT. Vermont Gov. Phil Scott (R) “has become the first Republican chief executive to support impeachment proceedings against President Trump,” the AP reports.
NETANYAHU TRIES TO FORM A COALITION GOVERNMENT. “Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu began Thursday the daunting task of trying to cobble together a coalition government amid political deadlock that emerged from this month’s repeat elections, which had no clear winner,” the AP reports. “He now has up to six weeks to attempt to resolve the political impasse, but his odds appear slim. Even with the support of smaller allies, both Netanyahu and his main challenger, Blue and White party leader and former army chief Benny Gantz, lack the support for the required 61-seat parliamentary majority needed to establish a government. That’s including the support of Netanyahu’s traditional ultra-Orthodox and religious-nationalist allies.”
UK PARLIAMENT RETURNS. “Boris Johnson is flying back into a momentous political crisis on Wednesday, after Britain’s Supreme Court ruled he broke the law by suspending Parliament. He’s facing calls to sack his political and legal advisers, while pro-Brexit hardliners have condemned the judges,” Bloomberg reports.
“Members of Parliament return to work this morning and are considering their options, ranging from new laws to stop a no-deal Brexit, to appointing a cross-party government of national unity. A general election is also on the horizon — though opposition Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn said he won’t seek a vote of no confidence in the government until the risk of crashing out of the European Union without an agreement has been removed.”