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It doesn’t matter who the Trump whistleblower is

Minority legal counsel Steve Castor, left, speaking with Republican Rep. Jim Jordan
Jim Lo Scalzo/Pool via REUTERS
Minority legal counsel Steve Castor, left, speaking with Republican Rep. Jim Jordan during the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence hearing on the impeachment inquiry on Wednesday.

Why are Republicans wasting their fire on the demand that the whistleblower be outed?

As a technical matter, it would be an overstatement to say that the “whistleblower” who first brought to the public secondhand evidence that President Donald Trump was pressuring Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelenskiy to investigate the Bidens if he wanted to get frozen military assistance unfrozen, is entitled to have his anonymity respected. But not much of an overstatement.

According to this New York Times explainer, the Inspector General Act says that agency watchdogs “shall not, after receipt of a complaint or information from an employee, disclose the identity of the employee without the consent of the employee, unless the inspector general determines such disclosure is unavoidable.”

Some Trump loyalists reportedly think they know the identity. The POTUS himself seems to think he knows, and knows that the whistleblower is a “never Trumper,” which he seems to think proves that any information coming from such sub-humans is tainted and should be ignored.

For reasons that are both obvious and a little sickening, Republicans spent much of their early fire during Wednesday’s first day of impeachment hearings on demanding that the whistleblower be identified and produced for questioning. Why?

On a substantive basis, it seems unnecessary. The whistleblower didn’t claim to have direct personal knowledge of the information he brought to light. He was passing along second-hand accounts that had reached him and which suggested that Trump was tying the release of stalled military aid to Ukraine to Zelenskiy investigating Hunter Biden and publicly announcing such an investigation. (If there’s one thing Trump can’t abide, it’s anyone seeking to benefit from family connections.)

The whistleblower’s identity, and his or her politics, seem fundamentally irrelevant. Even if you believe he was biased, the impeachment inquiry no longer depends on anything the whistleblower wrote or whistled. Many witnesses, with more direct knowledge of the underlying facts, have been identified. Two of them testified Wednesday. More will testify today (former Ambassador to Ukraine Marie Yovanovitch) and next week. She, and those who follow, will be asked about things they know first-hand.

Intelligence Committee Chair Adam Schiff made clear that outing the whistle-blower was unnecessary and he would not participate in it. Republicans on the committee made clear that they want him outed. And they may yet find a way to do so.

But the facts of the case will be brought to light through the testimony of named witnesses who have direct knowledge. Identifying the whistleblower might be fun for Trump and his supporters, but, even if the whistleblower was an axe-murderer or, even worse, a never-Trumper, that has nothing to do with the facts of the case and is a pitifully transparent effort to distract from those facts, which will be laid out by witnesses with more direct knowledge.

(After I wrote the above, I read news that U.S. Rep. Steve King, R-Iowa, who might be called an “always Trumper,” claimed to know that the whistleblower was Alex Soros, son of billionaire George Soros. King tweeted out four pictures of the younger Soros, posing with four prominent Democrats — Hillary Clinton, Nancy Pelosi, Chuck Schumer and Elizabeth Warren — which in some bizarre world apparently implied that this was evidence that Soros was the whistleblower. He has since deleted the tweet, but you can see the photos, which have no discernible connection to Ukraine or the whistleblower issue, here.)

How pitiful is this?

If you follow the public discussion of this bring-forth-the-whistleblower campaign, you will hear Trumpists claim that, without access to the whistleblower, Trump is being denied his fundamental “right to confront his accuser.”

This is nonsense. For starters, nothing the whistleblower said is being used as evidence. The whistleblower is more like the confidential informant who told the cops that he heard about who might’ve robbed the bank. It’s not evidence, unless the prosecutor puts that guy on the stand.

The right to confront your accuser pertains to a person, on trial for a crime, to be in court and hear the prosecution witnesses testify against him, and to cross-examine them (or have his lawyers do so).

Those rules don’t literally apply to an impeachment case. But even if they did, the trial, if one occurs, will be in the Senate, where Trump can presumably attend if he wants, confront his “accusers,” and will be represented by Senate Republicans committed to ensuring he gets due process.

One thing I can pretty much guarantee: The “leaker” will not be on the Senate floor to serve as Trump’s “accuser.” But if he is there, and Trump wants to confront him, that will shed little or no light on the question before the “court.”

The question is: Did President Donald Trump withhold urgently needed military aid to an ally, Ukraine, fighting against Russian invasion and occupation, and did Trump imply that he might be willing to release said aid if Ukraine did him a favor by investigating (and publicly announced that it was investigating) allegations of corruption against the Bidens?

It seems an important question. More important than the question of who leaked secondhand information that causes us to ask the more important question above. But, of course, anyone who thinks that must be a never-Trumper, so never mind.

Comments (92)

  1. Submitted by Connor OKeefe on 11/15/2019 - 09:31 am.

    I could concede confirming his identity isn’t that important; we know he is a Democrat operative.

    What is more important is when did he talk to Schiff, what other Democrat politicians or operatives did he speak with before tendering his complaint and what specific instructions did Schiff give him.

    I also think a subpoena should be issued for him to testify before the committees. He could be shielded from view while being questioned closely.

    • Submitted by Jackson Cage on 11/15/2019 - 10:58 am.

      You really don’t understand the whistleblower concept.

      In this case, virtually everything the whistleblower alleged has been proven through multiple witnesses and sources. A whistleblower report in just a more complex tip line. Unless the caller is also a fact witness, no one cares who called 911 or even what the motivation was. It’s rather pathetic watching people try to justify breaking the law.

    • Submitted by Brian Simon on 11/15/2019 - 12:46 pm.

      The Trump admin & GOP focus on the irrelevant whistleblower because they don’t want to address good questions, like:
      Why did Trump fire a diplomat with a reputation for fighting corruption in Ukraine, in the name of fighting corruption in Ukraine?
      Why is Rudi Giuliani, a private citizen who does not work for the White House or federal government, conducting foreign policy in Ukraine?
      Why is the President fixated on a well-debunked theory that Ukraine has Hillary Clinton’s email?

    • Submitted by Neal Rovick on 11/15/2019 - 01:42 pm.

      Try to learn a little bit about the whistle-blower laws.

      The report was made to the Inspector-General first. The Inspector General brought the complaint (which had been found credible) to the acting head of intelligence–a Trump appointee. The acting head refused to pursue it. The whistle-blower law had forseen the reluctance of political appointees, and in that case, the report was to be brought directly to the House Intelligence committee, As was done.

      By the way, with the Republicans breaking into a secure conference room, what assurance is there that same yahoos will not try a similar stunt?

      The reality is that direct witnesses and the partial transcript released by Trump verify the whistle blower.

      The chant should be…”release the full transcript”. it was “perfect”, after all.

      But hey, that might hurt.

      • Submitted by Connor OKeefe on 11/15/2019 - 03:22 pm.

        Counter to what we both agree should have happened, the complaint was brought to Schiff *before* it was brought to the IG. If that doesn’t give you pause, it should.

        • Submitted by Paul Brandon on 11/15/2019 - 08:49 pm.

          Or at least mentioned to a member of his staff.
          No indication that Schiff himself heard it.

        • Submitted by Edward Blaise on 11/15/2019 - 09:06 pm.

          Connor. thanks for the link, it was most informative:

          “Did Trump’s whistle blower follow protocol?
          Short answer: Yes. In recent weeks Trump and his supporters have accused the author of the complaint of being a “deep-state operative.” However, both the inspector general for the intelligence community and the acting director of national intelligence have said the individual followed legal procedure. Contrary to Trump’s claims, the law does not require a whistleblower to present first-hand information, it only requires a reasonable belief of a violation, said David Colapinto, co-founder and general counsel for the National Whistleblower Center, an advocacy group.”

        • Submitted by Dennis Wagner on 11/16/2019 - 09:09 am.

          So, your point is, following standard procedure/process is bad/biased/partisan/illegal politically motivated? Evidently you did not even read your own link:”at no point did the committee review or receive the complaint in advance” why should operating per standard procedure give anyone pause? .

          “The whistleblower, a member of the intelligence community, contacted the committee for guidance on how to report “possible wrongdoing,” according to Patrick Boland, a spokesman for the Intelligence Committee’s chairman, Rep. Adam Schiff, D-Calif. Boland said that “at no point did the committee review or receive the complaint in advance” and that it is a regular occurrence for whistleblowers to seek guidance from the committee.

          “Consistent with the committee’s longstanding procedures, committee staff appropriately advised the whistleblower to contact an inspector general and to seek legal counsel,” Boland said. Other congressional committees follow a similar process.”

          • Submitted by Connor OKeefe on 11/16/2019 - 05:28 pm.

            I don’t for a minute believe that Schiff didn’t have full knowledge of the complaint, and did not offer advice.

            For now, however, all we have is the complainants version of what happened and when. His actions and statements need to be fully examined; in person.

        • Submitted by Leon Webster on 11/19/2019 - 01:26 pm.

          I am probably uncommonly dense, but why should that give me pause? I don’t see why it is any worse than Devin Nunes having secret meetings with the White House before claiming that the Trump campaign was monitored. How does this meeting affect anything in the Whistle Blower’s Report? Has anything in the Whistle Blower’s report been shown to be false?

    • Submitted by Henry Johnson on 11/16/2019 - 03:49 pm.

      Connor, it seems to me that you and the Trump-publican party are desperately grasping at straws to DISTRACT ATTENTION from the really important question here, which is whether or not the president of the United states withheld almost 400 million dollars in urgently needed military aid, in order to force the Ukraine to investigate and discredit the president’s biggest political rival.

      That’s bribery – give me what I want, which is bad publicity on my political rival who’s ahead of me 10 or 15 points in the polling, via a public announcement that he is being investigated by my country, and I’ll give you almost 400 million bucks of US taxpayer money!

      That’s bribery, and a gross misuse of presidential power, a clear impeachable offense and along with a long laundry list of other impeachable offenses from obstruction of justice (Mueller found 10 counts), to campaign finance violations (e.g. – Stormy Daniels hush money payments) to shady Russian entanglements, to everyday violations of the emoluments clause – there are plenty of reasons there to justify impeachment.

      The party’s assertion that the identity and motivations of the whistleblower is what should be focused on, instead of the guilt or innocence of the president, is just a dishonest smokescreen.

      This is like saying that if a person phones in a tip about who robbed the bank, if we found out later that he knew the bank robber and disliked them, or the tipster was an alcoholic, or had some other flaw of some sort, that somehow makes the tip “invalid”, and that therefore the bank robber should be let go!

      Even if in fact that person DID rob the bank, and the tip was 100% correct!

      The identity and character and everything else about the person who gave the tip is irrelevant, as I think you probably know, the only thing that really matters is whether the tip was ACCURATE or not – and we’ve seen from direct testimony now from half a dozen people that the tip regarding this bribery attempt appears to in fact have been very accurate.

      And all the spurious smoke-screening in the world can’t quite occlude that fact.

      I don’t think the American public is dumb enough to believe that a bank robber should be let go, just because the reputation of the tipster who gave the police a tip about that robber, is tarnished in some way by the robber’s defense attorney.

      Tips from confidential informants, who may have bad reputations themselves, are used every day, all over the world, to solve crimes.

      I personally believe that the whistleblower is a man or woman of great courage and patriotism, who took the personal risk of reporting this because they love their country.

      But whether that’s true or not, all that matters is whether the tip they provided was accurate or not, and it clearly seems to have been highly accurate.

      The issue is did the robber commit the crime or not – yes or no.

      And the issue here is did the president and his personal attorney withhold badly needed military aid, aid allocated by the US congress, in order to bribe a foreign leader into attacking his biggest political rival – yes or no.

      The evidence to date seems to say that yes they did.

      So unable to counter that with evidence showing that they did not commit the crime, the Trump-publican party is pathetically trying these cheap theatrics of attacking the whistleblower to distract from the fact that their leader and his personal attorney do in fact appear to be guilty of the crime.

    • Submitted by lisa miller on 11/17/2019 - 04:31 pm.

      You don’t identify informants in police cases. Also in workplace investigations you don’t get to know who filed the complaint. Schiff did not have all the details when the informant first submitted the complaint and Schiff then followed appropriate process. Many of the witnesses are apolitical and have provided strong testimony. Add to it how hard some try to smear those who point out the facts and it sure is pointing to illegal/unethical activities.

    • Submitted by William Hunter Duncan on 11/21/2019 - 08:03 am.

      Notice Connor, when whistleblowers were calling out the Obama Admin the folks here were mostly silent when Obama treated them like spies and paraded them across the media as such. Nor do you hear calls for protecting those whistleblowers from Trump, particularly Assange and Snowden. If Dems don’t like what the whistleblower says then they get called agents of Putin.

    • Submitted by les mazutkiewicz on 12/08/2019 - 11:21 pm.

      The whistleblower is nothing more then what in criminal case is called “Confidential Informant “ CI Identity does not have to be told to defendants unless he is the victim or the witness of the crime , the defendant would have to prove that knowing the name and facing the CI would be relevant to his defense and could have effect on the out come of the case against him. None of the above apply in the case of the whistleblower. Also irrelevant is the fact if the CI knows Me.Shifft , even if he was his lover or if he hated President . In almost all criminal cases the CI knows the police officer investigating the case and many times the CI have a something against the defendant. None of this can change the facts of the crime !

  2. Submitted by Dan Landherr on 11/15/2019 - 09:36 am.

    The whistleblower is also irrelevant because Donald Trump himself admitted to doing exactly what was outlined in the original complaint. When the person accused admits to the allegations then all that is really left to argue is how heinous the crime is and what the proper punishment should be.

    • Submitted by Connor OKeefe on 11/15/2019 - 03:13 pm.

      That’s not strictly true. Trump has released the transcript of the call. What is being questioned is the complainant’s framing of Trump’s motivations.

      That makes the motivations behind the complainant relevant. We don’t necessarily need to know his identity, but he needs to be questioned under oath about how and why his complaint was crafted.

      • Submitted by Paul Brandon on 11/15/2019 - 07:06 pm.

        Trump has released HIS transcript of the report.
        Again, it’s not the same as a recording.

      • Submitted by Frank Phelan on 11/15/2019 - 07:11 pm.

        What’s not true is that the transript of the call was released.

        It was a summary of the call, not a complete, word for word transcript.

      • Submitted by Pat Berg on 11/15/2019 - 07:24 pm.

        Who cares about his/her motivations when the actions s/he’s reported have been corroborated by others? S/he simply got the ball rolling (a ball that no one may have known about if not for his/her courage in coming forward).

        Trump’s motivations are relevant. The whistleblower’s? Not so much.

      • Submitted by Edward Blaise on 11/15/2019 - 09:13 pm.

        “Trump has released the transcript of the call”

        Well, not exactly.

        Col. Vindmann, the 30 year military officer with the chest full of medals including a Purple Heart will, reportedly, tell us next week about the parts that did not get released.

        I would recommend to all Trumpians that they should pay close attention to refereeing at NFL games so they can practice the words:

        “Upon further review, we have reversed our support for President Trump, it is fourth down with 35 yards to go”.

      • Submitted by Matt Haas on 11/15/2019 - 10:00 pm.

        No, Trump has done no such thing. The “transcript” is a wholly created document, containing only that which the White House saw fit to include. That it’s as damning as it is speaks only to the incompetence of those involved.

      • Submitted by Kevin Schumacher on 11/19/2019 - 07:36 am.

        What was released was not a transcript.

      • Submitted by les mazutkiewicz on 12/08/2019 - 11:43 pm.

        Confidential Informants motivation is totally irrelevant in any criminal case . Many CI hate the defendants and the reason why they become CI does not matter! The only things of any importance are the facts of the case. So any politician who is saying that President is not getting due process because he can not face the whistleblower is simply lying to the public. Many people are in jail never knowing the name of the CI /whistleblower/ that inform on them to start the investigation.

  3. Submitted by Paul Brandon on 11/15/2019 - 09:39 am.

    ‘Whistleblowers’ start investigations by providing reasonable bases for suspecting wrongdoing;
    they don’t finish the investigation by providing crucial evidence;that’s the function of the investigation itself; the impeachment inquiry which is just starting.

  4. Submitted by Dennis Wagner on 11/15/2019 - 10:07 am.

    Eric, you are trying to make a logical, rationale case to folks that only want to see someone blame, and discredit, for calling out Trump on his treasonous behavior. Its all about protecting the Dictator/King/emperor, Let the democracy and the constitution burn! And to them that is what true patriots do, burn the country from sea to shinning sea, protect Trumps treasonous behavior at all costs,

  5. Submitted by Mike Chrun on 11/15/2019 - 10:14 am.

    Your second to the last paragraph says it all, Eric. The Republicans know it, but they have been directed to defend the great leader whatever way possible. The whistleblower, fi he or she, was known would make it easier to distract and deflect because there would be an actual name and face to attack. Focusing on him or her would make it easier to put a distracting light on something or someone else. Hopefully, the majority of people will keep their attention on where the main spotlight should be: an act that puts the self-interest of the great leader ahead of the national interests of our country.

    Guessing, the folks that were so alarmed at the danger Hillary’s emails posed to our national security won’t see it that way. Weaken an ally? Weaken that ally’s ability to defend itself from Russia? Help Putin achieve some of his goals? Hey, no problem; remember the peril we faced because of Hillary.

  6. Submitted by Ron Gotzman on 11/15/2019 - 10:41 am.

    The purpose of the whistleblower has been sufficient and he followed the impeachment script adequately.

    The leaks – “news” – accusations – innuendo – coordination with the media – has proven useful in the overall 3 years campaign to “get ” the President.

    Mission almost accomplished….. at least we are not hearing the Mueller name anymore.

    • Submitted by Brian Simon on 11/15/2019 - 11:52 am.

      Whoops! Mueller name back in the news as Trump Operative Roger Stone found guilty of lying to investigators about his contacts with wikileaks.

      Of course, in Trumpworld, this is somehow another manifestation of the “deep state”. This conspiracy theory, it’s worth noting, is promoted by the same people who think Sandy Hook is a hoax and that there’s a bunch of Democrats cannibalizing children in a pizza restaurant.

    • Submitted by Dennis Wagner on 11/16/2019 - 09:09 pm.

      You know RG, from this perspective Trump and his minions are doing everything they can to “get me” meaning destroy our environment, government, bankrupting the country, creating more oligarchs while kicking kids to the curb. Showing zero compassion, demeanor, civility, ethics, actually has disdain for anyone of a different skin color, sexual orientation, religion, ethnicity, our society overall, not to mention our international relationships. He has made it his #1 priority to undo 100% of what Obama accomplished, what for spite, hate, racism? So Trump and his minions in this opinion declared total war against a civil society based on democratic principles, and what should we do sit here and watch him and his burn our country and society to the ground? The suggestion that folks are unfairly picking on corporal bone spurs, isn’t even laughable, Follow his tweet storms much? He and his started a war to burn down the American System (Barr said as much at the Federalist Society yesterday), now folks are whining like spoiled kids when folks fight back! You know what grandma would say, can’t take the heat get out of the kitchen.

  7. Submitted by Jon Kingstad on 11/15/2019 - 12:15 pm.

    The only reason the Trumpers want the whistleblower’s name is to expose that individual or his or her family to harassment, abuse and maybe murder. Fear for one’s life and the lives of one’s family is one of the main, if not only, reason for maintaining anonymity. Who are the Republican’s kidding when they argue that this is needed for some process reason? It’s totally contradictory to their other absurd argument that the witnesses who’ve been testifying should be excluded because it’s “hearsay.” It’s only hearsay if you don’t have the original source of the testimony that’s being presented heard from a third party. Except for the whistleblower? Oh, we need that person’s name to prove what: that he/she’s a “Democrat operative”? Right. Just like William Taylor?

    All of this begs the question at the heart of this investigation: why won’t Trump just declassify the word for word transcript of the July 25, 2019 telephone conversation? The witnesses are only there to establish that there is no “national security” justification for having classified this document. The only inference is that it establishes just what the witnesses are saying: that Trump was extorting a personal “favor” from Zelinsky in the form of an investigation of Joe Biden by Ukrainian authorities that Trump could use in the 2020 campaign in exchange for the promised aid.

    A lot of Republicans are complaining about the unfairness of the process. Forgetting how the Republicans never shrank from using Ken Starr (wielding far more power as an Independent Counsel that Mueller had a “special counsel) as they stalking horse to dig up dirt against the Clintons. At least those Republicans in Congress know in their hearts that if the tables were turned, they would be doing what the Democrats are doing.

    The Democrats are most likely wrestling with the idea of whether they list all the items in the Mueller report as grounds for impeachment or limit the articles to the abuse of power of office by extortion. Trump’s argument is that he can do whatever he wants because “if the President does it, it’s legal.” No it’s not. If Congress says it’s “high crime or misdemeanor”, then he can be impeached.

    • Submitted by Paul Brandon on 11/15/2019 - 03:44 pm.

      Nixon tried the “if the President does it, it’s legal.” ploy — when it didn’t fly he resigned.

    • Submitted by RB Holbrook on 11/18/2019 - 10:34 am.

      “The only reason the Trumpers want the whistleblower’s name is to expose that individual or his or her family to harassment, abuse and maybe murder.”

      I’d argue that it’s also a distraction, but I think you’re correct. The whistleblower’s name would be spread all over the right-wing media, Hannity et al. would be braying about any transgression ever committed by him or her (“In 1993, whistleblower returned a movie to Blockbuster without rewinding it!”), and the death threats would start pouring in from the loyalists. This would be not only retribution, but would serve as an effective warning to anyone who might entertain thoughts of speaking against Our Beloved Leader.

      One year after recounting her interactions with the Hon. Justice Boofer, Christine Blasey Ford is still being harassed.

  8. Submitted by Pat Berg on 11/15/2019 - 07:11 pm.

    Once again, neither of these qualify as a “full transcript”. Directly from the bottom of the first sheet of the released documents of BOTH the April and July conversations in question:

    “CAUTION: A Memorandum of a Telephone Conversation (TELCON) is not a verbatim transcript of a discussion. The text in this document records the notes and recollections of Situation Room Duty Officers and NSC policy staff assigned to listen and memorialize the conversation in written form as the conversation takes place. A number of factors can affect the accuracy of the record, including poor telecommunications connections and variations in accent and/or interpretation. The word ‘inaudible’ is used to indicate portions of a conversation that the notetaker was unable to hear.”

    The April document contains the additional note:

    “An interpreter facilitated this conversation. Differences in interpretation may result in subtle differences in the exact meaning of phrases.”

    So again, to reiterate – neither the document of the April nor the document of the July conversation qualifies as a “full transcript”. And with respect to the July conversation, we are still waiting for the actual “full transcript” of that conversation as there appear to be a number of significant omissions.

  9. Submitted by Tom Anderson on 11/15/2019 - 08:59 pm.

    “Many witnesses, with more direct knowledge of the underlying facts, have been identified. Two of them testified Wednesday.”
    More direct knowledge (from listening to other people) from people who have never met the President and were (amazingly) not part of the hundred or so people listening to “the call”.
    And what about the guy calling the President on his cellphone from a Kiev restaurant (who doesn’t have the President on speed-dial?) Does the President speak that loudly that underlings (not giving testimony) nearby can hear him, or did the dude just have the President on speakerphone? These are the people protecting our country?

  10. Submitted by Tom Christensen on 11/15/2019 - 10:55 pm.

    The Republican game of criminal dominos is speeding up. The Republican Party no longer exists, it is now a cult. Trump continues his irrational daily behavior as constituents flee the party. Trump is taking the entire party right down a rat hole. Republicans should elect those willing to work for the good of all Americans, not those who think their oath of office is meaningless.

  11. Submitted by cory johnson on 11/16/2019 - 07:28 am.

    I’ll accept the premise that the whistleblower doesn’t need to testify because his (or her) information was second hand. Based on that premise what was the point of the first two days of this clown show? It was all second or third hand information. I guess if one wants to impeach Trump based on “established norm violations” then it was something. Otherwise it was a big zero for inquisitor Schiff.

    • Submitted by Pat Berg on 11/16/2019 - 09:28 am.

      No – the point is that there is no need to “out” the whistleblower’s identity at this point. Subtle distinction, I guess – but important point to understand.

    • Submitted by Mike Chrun on 11/16/2019 - 02:21 pm.

      “What was the point of the first two days of this clown show?” The point is to to determine if your great leader violated the Constitution with his perfect phone call. You know, by extorting Ukraine, a country at war with Russian backed militia. It had already lost some of its territory as Putin tries to restore Russian power. It was waiting for military aid from the United States. And, despite Congress granting the aid, your great leader decided it would be a good opportunity to to help himself in the 2020 election. But, I suspect you already know all this. The hypocrisy of the Republicans is mind-boggling where Trump is concerned.

  12. Submitted by cory johnson on 11/16/2019 - 09:00 am.

    I’d also much rather hear from first hand witnesses like Ukraine’s president and foreign minister than the whistleblower. Both of them have said they saw no relationship between aide and investigating. It would be much more interesting.

    • Submitted by Pat Berg on 11/16/2019 - 09:30 am.

      Is there some reason you believe Congress has subpoena power over foreign leaders?

    • Submitted by Tom Christensen on 11/16/2019 - 12:56 pm.

      Have you noticed trump is blocking some first hand witnesses from testifying? Wouldn’t you love to hear from first hand witnesses Pompeo and Mulvaney? I guess not, that would take away a phony Republican talking point.

      You probably didn’t know Republicans and Democrats agreed to hearing rules before the hearings started and yet Nunes rails about things that were agreed to. When the Republicans don’t have the facts they pull a political stunt and rail about the process.

  13. Submitted by Christian King on 11/16/2019 - 09:23 am.

    Republicans are engaging in a logical fallacy called “Attacking the motive.” They are trying to claim that the whistleblower is a Democrat and is therefore motivated to try to derail Trump’s presidency. But just because someone has a motive for saying something does not make the claim false. The claim still has to be challenged on its own merits.

    Yes, Democrats are guilty of doing the same thing. It’s a common tactic, and it’s wrong. Read more about it here:

  14. Submitted by Connor OKeefe on 11/16/2019 - 05:32 pm.

    Here is the transcript of the July call. It’s boring, too.

  15. Submitted by William Hunter Duncan on 11/16/2019 - 05:56 pm.

    Word is everyone in Washington knows who the whistleblower is. Dems won’t say because he worked for Biden. Repubs won’t say because they don’t want to be accused of outing a CIA guy. Meanwhile it is illegal for the CIA to operate domestically, but no one in Washington seems to care.

    Oh, and Obama treated whistleblowers like spies, destroying their lives…with the support of Dems and Repubs.

    • Submitted by Paul Brandon on 11/19/2019 - 04:00 pm.

      Words can be accurate or inaccurate; true or false.

    • Submitted by RB Holbrook on 11/19/2019 - 04:44 pm.

      Maybe “dems” and many “repubs” won’t say because they believe in protecting the confidentiality of a whistleblower, as required. It’s not always about the Deep State, you know.

      Incidentally, the CIA is barred only from gathering intelligence and conducting covert operations domestically. It can still analyze and keep foreign intelligence in the US.

      • Submitted by William Hunter Duncan on 11/20/2019 - 08:09 am.

        The intelligence in question is about a phone call of a sitting president made on US soil, by def domestic. That is a spook practicing spookery domestically. But again, this is a show-trial, so anything goes apparently. And again, whistleblowers are only protected by this gov when they have information that suits the gov (deep state). Otherwise they are crushed.

        • Submitted by RB Holbrook on 11/20/2019 - 10:27 am.

          I’m confused. How do you (or how does “everybody”) know that the whistleblower is with the CIA?

          • Submitted by William Hunter Duncan on 11/20/2019 - 11:06 am.

            The identity of the whistleblower is widely known and reported. He worked in the Whitehouse early in Trump’s Admin, he previously worked for Biden, he is a protege of Brennan, and he was involved in the Ukraine covert regime change hijinks 2013-2015. Also reported to have met with Shiff to help plan this impeachment narrative.

            But again, Dems don’t want to say because his background would make this look like the purely partisan exercise this is, and repubs can’t say because they are loathe to call out a CIA agent.

            And again my point, when Intel guys whistleblowed about illegal activity about the spook industry or the eternal war profiteering machine during the Obama admin, both parties were happy to parade them before the media, call them spies and prosecute them as such. Now suddenly this whistleblower is treated like a great American hero by the Dems, who proclaim whistleblowing sacred.

            • Submitted by Dennis Wagner on 11/20/2019 - 05:19 pm.

              WHD: Where is the support for “The identity of the whistleblower is widely known and reported”? If it is, why is Nunes asking? Can’t you supply it here? Seems you have lots of information that from this perspective looks like 100% conspiracy theory.

            • Submitted by Dennis Wagner on 11/20/2019 - 05:22 pm.

              PS: You remember Cheny had no problem outing Valarie Plame, doubt if Trump would have nay problem outing who ever “ratted” him out!

              • Submitted by William Hunter Duncan on 11/21/2019 - 10:15 am.

                Yeah, Cheney outed Plame – just like every admin seeks to silence and destroy every whistleblower. Obama treated whistleblowers like spies (he wasn’t finished yet when this article came out.


                • Submitted by Dennis Wagner on 11/21/2019 - 02:04 pm.

                  Evidently you failed to read the article you linked. Why was he prosecuted? Not for whistle blowing, but for not using the process, and going to the media with confidential information.Interesting how folks like to twist headlines and facts around to serve their own purposes. Did the Trump whistle blower give an interview on ABC news? There is a difference.

                  • Submitted by William Hunter Duncan on 11/21/2019 - 03:19 pm.

                    Whistleblowing in gov is a career killer generally, and often leads to a quashing of the info and a go to jail immediately card. This whistleblower is protected only because what he has to say benefits elements within gov. That is the biggest of differences.

                • Submitted by RB Holbrook on 11/21/2019 - 02:51 pm.

                  Once again, Mr. Duncan: Barack Obama has NOTHING to do with the impeachment of Donald Trump. Nothing. Nada. Rien. Nichts. Nihil. Ouden. Ingenting. This is about Donald Trump, and whether he committed the types of high crimes and misdemeanors that would merit his removal from office.

                  The only reason your constant Obama-sniping could conceivable relevant is if the claim is made that Obama did nothing wrong during his tenure. Unless and until someone makes that claim, there is absolutely no reason to delve into his presidency.

                  • Submitted by William Hunter Duncan on 11/22/2019 - 08:09 am.

                    I have never said Obama had something with Trump’s impeachment. I bring up Obama to point out how whistleblowers are treated differently depending on who they offend.

                    As for Obama though, I suspect the Barr report will delve into how it was the Obama admin went about spying on the Trump campaign through FISA, and the legal or not basis of their doing so. Especially if the justification was the Steele dossier and Fusion GPS, funded in part by the Hillary Clinton campaign.

  16. Submitted by Tom Anderson on 11/16/2019 - 11:53 pm.

    The President arranged a deal with Mexico and Canada that the House hasn’t ratified yet. I’m sure that the President offered some things to those countries in return for things from them. Can he be impeached for that? I mean, quid pro quo and all that. Any “deal” with China should also be grounds for impeachment if promises are made in exchange for promises from China.
    Come to think of it, when members of Congress receive vast sums of money from donors in exchange for… Should they be impeached too?

    • Submitted by Pat Berg on 11/17/2019 - 06:50 am.

      That depends – are these deals in return for things that are for the benefit of the country or in return for things that will be for their own personal benefit (including their political aspirations)?

  17. Submitted by joe smith on 11/17/2019 - 11:10 am.

    I wonder if it matters that Schiff was 100% behind the whistle blower testifying before he got caught talking to whistle blower? After Schiff lied about having no contact with the whistle blower and was caught in that lie, he decided the whistle blower should not testify…. Interesting change of heart.

    • Submitted by Dennis Wagner on 11/17/2019 - 03:27 pm.

      And where is the source for the got caught talking to the whistle blower? Ad of course, what process. law, conflict now comes into play? Sounds like the DA talked to the guy who said he had information about a shooting, and now the DA is involved in a conspiracy against the shooter! Trump/Trump minion logic, just can’t make this stuff up.

      • Submitted by joe smith on 11/17/2019 - 07:30 pm.

        Schiff said in an interview they had not talked to whistle blower, it was later revealed (by NY Times) his top aide had talked to the whistle blower. Politifact called Schiff’s claim they had not talked to whistle blower false.
        Easy to find out simple facts by spreading your wings a bit.

        • Submitted by Dennis Wagner on 11/18/2019 - 08:40 am.

          Please provide the link to the article, Had another similar one, seems talking to the whistle blower was, telling them that they were suppose to talk to the Intelligence agency, not the congressional Intelligence committee in short (no information was passed) that’s the problem, content and context matters, otherwise it looks like misdirection, mischaracterization, in short propaganda. You know the old adage about being on the same page? You can find that discussion here in this thread, with links and quotes, if you spread your wings a little.

        • Submitted by RB Holbrook on 11/18/2019 - 10:01 am.

          It’s even easier to find out simple facts if you take the time to read the story beyond just the headline. The Poitifact story says that Schiff’s statement that the Intelligence Committee did not talk to the whistleblower was false.

          “Seeking guidance, the whistleblower turned to a House Intelligence Committee aide, who advised the whistleblower to get a lawyer and file a complaint with the intelligence community inspector general, per committee procedures. The aide shared some of that information with Schiff.”

          Or is the problem that you don’t realize that a top aide to Rep. Schiff is not the same person as Rep. Schiff?

          • Submitted by joe smith on 11/18/2019 - 11:15 am.

            I read it and agreed with politifact, false statement. Pretty simple, Schiff lied and then backtracked on whistle blower testifying. Again, pretty simple.

            • Submitted by RB Holbrook on 11/18/2019 - 11:53 am.

              Did the whistleblower speak to Schiff directly? That’s what you’re claiming, but the article you seem to think backs you up does not say that.

              • Submitted by Paul Brandon on 11/18/2019 - 02:57 pm.

                Another alternative fact.

              • Submitted by joe smith on 11/18/2019 - 03:04 pm.

                Top Aide talked to whistle blower, I’m sure he didn’t mention it to Schiff. The question was have you had contact with the whistle blower, correct answer is, i have not but my aides have. Most honest people would say that. Is that enough of an explanation of why Schiff got a false statement from Politifact or do you need more?
                Again, not that hard to find this information.

                • Submitted by RB Holbrook on 11/18/2019 - 04:14 pm.

                  Not hard to find, but apparently it’s hard to report correctly.

                  Read your own posts, Mr. Smith. “Hard to believe” is not a fact.

  18. Submitted by cory johnson on 11/19/2019 - 08:53 am.

    Not allowing Republicans to question other witnesses about their interactions with the whistleblower is suspicious. It certainly goes to motive behind this “inquiry”. It can’t possibly be about protecting the identity of the whistleblower because everyone already knows his name.

  19. Submitted by Connor OKeefe on 11/15/2019 - 03:07 pm.

    BTW, the full transcript has been released for your reading pleasure. It’s pretty boring, but there here it is.

  20. Submitted by Paul Brandon on 11/15/2019 - 03:42 pm.

    Of course it’s boring.
    The transcript (and see its caveats about translation) was of the first conversation.
    It’s the second conversation that raises issues.
    It’s worth noting that Trump is the one who brought up the first conversation, obviously to confuse matters.

  21. Submitted by Jon Kingstad on 11/15/2019 - 05:20 pm.

    This is a transcript of the April 2019 conversation. It may have relevance as background but it doesn’t disprove the central contention of what Trump said in the July 25, 2019 conversation with Zelinsky. Trump’s action in classifying the verbatim transcript is tantamount to concealing the fruit of his crime. The refusal to disclose or declassify it only strengthens the inference that will be drawn by any but the deliberately obtuse or partisan that Trump was extorting a favor from Zelinksy. Of, if you will, asking for a bribe.

  22. Submitted by Brian Nelson on 11/15/2019 - 06:21 pm.

    This is not the July 25th, 2019 phone call transcript.

  23. Submitted by Leon Webster on 11/15/2019 - 06:57 pm.

    This is the transcript of a congratulatory call in April. The full transcript that needs to be released is the transcript of the July 25 call. That is the call where Trump tells Zelinski “We would like a favor from you though”. That call was over 30 minutes long, but you can read the “rough transcript” aloud in about 10 minutes.

    By the way, when the White House released the read-out of the April call, they said that Trump talked to Zelinsky about corruption. But that doesn’t appear to be the case in the transcript that was released today.

    For that matter, Trump never uses the word “corruption” or “corrupt” in the July call either. And the only investigations he mention involve Hunter Biden and Crowd Strike.

  24. Submitted by Mike Chrun on 11/15/2019 - 09:00 pm.

    Okay, now can you give us the complete transcript of the second call? You know, the relevant one.

  25. Submitted by Matt Haas on 11/15/2019 - 10:01 pm.

    Yeah one issue, wrong call.

  26. Submitted by Edward Blaise on 11/17/2019 - 09:10 pm.

    As Bill Maher explained on Friday night, this is akin to Bill Clinton releasing a picture of him and Monica Lewsinki not having sex and how it proves his innocence.

    A year from now, Trumpians, both pro and amateur will all be shaking their collective heads and quietly muttering:

    “I invested my trust and judgement in Donald Trump, what could I have possibly been thinking?”

  27. Submitted by Pat Berg on 11/18/2019 - 07:46 am.

    That’s easy. They were thinking that he would roll over and give them anything they wanted because all that he really wants is to keep his cushy office and title.

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