Patterico's Pontifications

9/26/2019

Whistleblower Letter Released; Also: Did Trump Ask Barr to Investigate Biden?

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 7:59 am



You can read the whistleblower letter here. And you should. A couple of salient points beyond what we already knew:

1. The whistleblower characterized multiple witnesses to the call saying “they had witnessed the President abuse his office for personal gain.”

Abuse Office for Personal Gain

2. The storage of the call was handled differently from that of other calls, for no apparent legitimate reason.

Storage of Call

That sounds cover-uppy, but I doubt Trump ordered it. I don’t think he thinks he did anything wrong. In his mind, everyone in the world exists to serve him personally. The Attorney General, the Director of the FBI, leaders of other countries … everyone.

Meanwhile, as Attorney General Barr is mentioned in the letter as being named by Trump in the Ukraine call as one of the people the Ukraine president should speak with, the question again arises: has Donald Trump asked Bill Barr to investigate Joe Biden?

I think he has. If Trump asked Ukraine to investigate Biden, why wouldn’t he ask Bill Barr? He thinks the position of Attorney General exists to serve his personal interests; we know that from his endless ranting about Sessions’s recusal. Then there’s this:

Barr says “they have not asked me to open an investigation” but he curiously emphasizes the word “asked” and he’s clearly dancing around something he doesn’t want to talk about. What is it? Here is a statement issued yesterday by a spokesman for the Department of Justice:

The Attorney General was first notified of the President’s conversation with Ukrainian President Zelensky several weeks after the call took place, when the Department of Justice learned of a potential referral. The President has not spoken with the Attorney General about having Ukraine investigate anything relating to former Vice President Biden or his son. The President has not asked the Attorney General to contact Ukraine — on this or any other matter. The Attorney General has not communicated with Ukraine — on this or any other subject. Nor has the Attorney General discussed this matter, or anything relating to Ukraine, with Rudy Giuliani.

A Department of Justice team led by U.S. Attorney John Durham is separately exploring the extent to which a number of countries, including Ukraine, played a role in the counterintelligence investigation directed at the Trump campaign during the 2016 election. While the Attorney General has yet to contact Ukraine in connection with this investigation, certain Ukrainians who are not members of the government have volunteered information to Mr. Durham, which he is evaluating.

I did not know until I read that statement that Durham’s mandate included looking into whether Ukraine was involved in a counterintelligence investigation of Trump’s campaign. Is this broad enough to encompass an investigation of Joe Biden? I don’t think it should be, but maybe the investigators are treating it that way.

Note well what the statement does not say, though. It does not say Donald Trump did not ask Bill Barr to investigate Joe Biden. Again: If Trump asked Ukraine to investigate Biden, why wouldn’t he ask Bill Barr to do the same thing?

One final bit of news that shows how important the Biden issue was for Trump: discussion of Biden was a precondition for the call taking place to begin with:

But after weeks of discussions with American officials, Ukrainian officials came to understand there was a condition for any meeting with Trump, the former adviser said.

“Ukrainian officials were asking for a meeting with Trump for along time. As I remember, it was a clear fact that Trump wants to meet only if Biden case will be included,” said Serhiy Leshchenko, an anti-corruption advocate and former member of Ukraine’s Parliament, who had been a former adviser to Zelenskiy but has recently been distanced from the administration. “This issue was raised many times. I know that Ukrainian officials understood.”

Asked if it had been understood as a condition, Leshchenko said, “Yes.”

But I was told the mention of Biden was an afterthought!

The whistleblower’s letter provides many fertile avenues for investigation. This is not going away any time soon. That I can tell you!

UPDATE: Looks like the ABC News story was garbage.

[Cross-posted at The Jury Talks Back.]

71 Responses to “Whistleblower Letter Released; Also: Did Trump Ask Barr to Investigate Biden?”

  1. The whistleblower must be relatively new at the job, as second hand knowledge of frenzied unmaskings, bogus evidence in surveillance warrants, and international intelligence efforts against an opposition campaign didn’t raise any eyebrows like other second hand knowledge.

    I’m sure it would have, had the whistleblower been around then. I’m sure it would’ve caused great concern. But, old news and Whaddabout?!

    Munroe (53beca)

  2. Patterico,
    You wrote

    has Donald Trump asked Bill Barr to investigate Joe Biden?

    I think it should be “Has Barr been asked or directed to investigate Joe Biden.” I’m not sure what the expectations are for something like this. If Barr was asked by the chief of staff or another 3rd party on Trumps behalf he could be technically telling the Truth. Or if it wasn’t a request but an order. Again, i don’t know if these sorts of word games count, or if that’s just something non-lawyers think goes on. But it seemed like he was being cagey about something and I’m suspicious we have some Clinton Style wording going on. Where it’s true or false depending what ‘is’ means.

    Time123 (14b920)

  3. Narciso, I agree that the report is not proof. I think it is however probable cause to investigate.

    The people who the whistle blower spoke to need to testify under oath and publicly.
    Hopefully the house is able to do this in a halfway competent manner. Something they’ve failed spectacularly to do in the past.

    Time123 (14b920)

  4. We see romneys part in the coverup as with atkinson, as with gordon.

    Narciso (dfe933)

  5. I hear Mueller is available.

    Munroe (53beca)

  6. Trump may not have ordered the call moved to a different server but this isn’t the first time the White House staff/lawyers have done this. It is now a pattern in his White House.

    DRJ (15874d)

  7. The House Intelligence Committee is questioning DNI Maguire right now, but Cong Will Hurd is the only Republican Congressman I’ve seen who is participating. Normally at hearings the Party members take turns questioning a witness. (Hurd, a former CIA officer, is not running for re-election. His questions concerned intelligence matters more than Trump.)

    Did the Republicans decide not to participate in this hearing?

    DRJ (15874d)

  8. Ok, Devin Nunes commented about the “legal word charade” of this hearing, and said he thinks it should be a hearing behind closed doors. I suspect other Republicans agree and there will be further hearings/questions in private.

    DRJ (15874d)

  9. Trump may not have ordered the call moved to a different server but this isn’t the first time the White House staff/lawyers have done this. It is now a pattern in his White House.

    DRJ (15874d) — 9/26/2019 @ 9:07 am

    I think this is much ado about nothing….

    Frankly, I surprised that POTUS-to-Head of States transcripts/memorandum isn’t stored on classified system by default.

    whembly (fd57f6)

  10. I did not know until I read that statement that Durham’s mandate included looking into whether Ukraine was involved in a counterintelligence investigation of Trump’s campaign. Is this broad enough to encompass an investigation of Joe Biden? . Is this broad enough to encompass an investigation of Joe Biden? </blockquote. No, and Trump considered it two sepaate matters:

    https://www.whitehouse.gov/wp-content/uploads/2019/09/Unclassified09.2019.pdf

    The other thing, There’s a lot 6f. talk about Biden’s son,. that Eiden stopped the prosecution and a lot of people want to find out about that so whatever you can do with the Attorney General would be great. Biden went around bragging that he stopped the prosecution so if you can look into it … [Here either the people taking this down lost a few words, or Trump inerrupted himself] It sounds horrible to me.

    The other thing.

    Now, what did rump say Barr was doing and what did Barr do?

    First, he says he’s going to have Barr call, it seems about Crowdstrike, although he also mentions that there are a lot of things that went on. Later he says he would like to have Giuliani call, but he seems to be dealing more with the first matter. He says he is going to have Giuliani call and he’s going to also have Barr call And I quite believe he never followed through on the Barr fall
    In fact maye mentioned Barr because he wanted Zelensky to think ths was something official and if he did he did he;d be more likely to take the Giuliani call. And later on he says he s going to have Giuliani call (Giuliani is first) and he will also have Attorney general barr call.

    And again at the that he will tell Rudy and the Attorney General to call. About what? Not necessarily Biden but the whole thing, which cold include why the prosecutor was fired (except that Trump has got the story all wrong.

    Sammy Finkelman (27cd2c)

  11. Trump may not have ordered the call moved to a different server but this isn’t the first time the White House staff/lawyers have done this. It is now a pattern in his White House.

    DRJ (15874d) — 9/26/2019 @ 9:07 am

    I think this is much ado about nothing….

    Frankly, I surprised that POTUS-to-Head of States transcripts/memorandum isn’t stored on classified system by default.

    whembly (fd57f6) — 9/26/2019 @ 9:21 am

    Your policy position may be the correct one. But the deviation from established process could be evidence that they knew the conversation was damaging and were trying to hide it.

    Time123 (b4d075)

  12. Lois lerners atty was greg craig, if course mcmaster cintinued susan rices security clearan r
    https://theconservativetreehouse.com/2019/09/25/further-evidence-intelligence-community-inspector-general-is-part-of-lawfare-alliance/

    Narciso (dfe933)

  13. Listening to acting DNI Maguire’s testimony before Congress. He sounds like an honorable man in a difficult situation. What is striking is the commentary by Republican members of the committee. They are only capable of repeating tired talking points.

    The meat in the whistleblower’s complaint is that the president misused the power of his office to extort cooperation from a foreign government in proving a long-debunked conspiracy theory. And in investigating unsupported accusations of corruption by a potential political opponent.

    In other words, Trump thinks Article II of the Constitution gives him free reign to not only welcome but coerce foreign interference in order to not just win election but to confirm his delusional fantasies.

    This is malignant narcissism on full display. That the Republicans would defend or excuse such behavior says more about them than it does about Trump. The GOP died when it nominated him and supplicated themselves in his thrall.

    Gawain's Ghost (b25cd1)

  14. William taylor, zylochevsky had buretta a doj division chief on his side.

    Narciso (dfe933)

  15. > he thinks it should be a hearing behind closed doors.

    this is a really tough one.

    there’s a super good argument that hearings about presidential conversations with foreign leaders should *always* be behind closed doors, because of the risk that public discussion will chill future conversations with foreign leaders in general.

    but there’s also a super good argument that if this conversation, and the whistleblower report around it, are the basis for an impeachment inquiry and, eventually, formal charges filed by the House, then the conversation should be in public to the greatest extent possible, so the citizenry has maximum access to information when forming its opinions on the matter.

    aphrael (3f0569)

  16. “But the deviation from established process could be evidence that they knew the conversation was damaging and were trying to hide it.”
    Time123 (b4d075) — 9/26/2019 @ 9:23 am

    Established procedures on data storage include a bathroom server and bleachbit. So, it’s a definite deviation.

    Munroe (53beca)

  17. I just read the 9-page report, and it's bad for Trump and bad for America. Below is my take, and the opening paragraph is political dynamite.

    In the course of my official duties, I have received information from multiple U.S. Government officials that the President of the United States is using the power of his office to solicit interference from a foreign country in the 2020 U.S. election. This interference includes, among other things, pressuring a foreign country to investigate one of the President's main domestic political rivals. The President's personal lawyer, Mr. Rudolph Giuliani, is a central figure in this effort. Attorney General Barr appears to be involved as well.

    Emphases mine. (1) The IG is basing his report on multiple sources, more than a half dozen, (2) there's more to it than just a phone call, and (3) our nation's chief law enforcement officer is involved in this corruption. That Giuliani was involved is no surprise.
    Page 3:
    (1) Trump praised the chief prosecutor, Lutsenko, who is barely less corrupt than Shokin. Lutsenko had to recant his lie that Obama gave him a "do not prosecute" list.
    (2) Approximately a dozen White House officials (and a State Department official) listened in on the Trump-Zelensky call. Numerous State Department and IC officials were briefed on the contents of the call.
    (3) The White House attempted to "lock down" all records relating to the Trump-Zelensky conversation, including the word-for-word transcript, which was wiped "from the computer system in which such transcripts are typically stored."
    Page 4: The word-for-word transcript was placed elsewhere:

    Instead, the transcript was loaded into a separate electronic system that is otherwise used to store and handle classifed information of an especially sensitive nature. One White House official described this act as an abuse of this electronic system because the call did not contain anything remotely sensitive from a national security perspective.

    The House Intelligence Committee will demanding that word-for-word transcript, if they haven't done so already.
    Page 5: On prosecutor Lutsenko:

    Mr. Lutsenko has no legal training and has been widely criticized in Ukraine for politicizing criminal probes and using his tenure as Prosecutor General to protect corrupt Ukrainian officials. He has publicly feuded with Mr. [Sytnyk?] who heads Ukraine's only competent anticorruption body, and with Mr. Leshchenko, a former investigative journalist who has repeatedly criticized Mr. Lutsenko's record.

    In other words, Mr. Lutsenko is a political hack who was placed in that job to protect Ukrainian elites like Zlochevsky from prosecution.
    Page 6: Based on Mr. Lutsenko's lies, a good US Ambassador was fired from her job, with Giuliani's help.

    However, several US officials told me that, in fact, her tour was curtailed because of pressure stemming from Mr. Lutsenko's allegations. Mr. Giuliani subsequently stated in an interview with a Ukrainian journalist published on 14 May that Ambassador Yovanovitch was removed. . .because she was part of the efforts against the President.

    I'm not sure which president she was against. Either way, she was fired because of lies.
    Page 7:

    During this same time frame, multiple US. officials told me that the Ukrainian leadership was led to believe that a meeting or phone call between the President and President would depend On whether showed willingness to "play ball" on the issues that had been publicly aired by Mr. Lutsenko and Mr. Giuliani.

    In this context, "play ball" has to mean that Trump-Giuliani wanted Ukraine to investigate Biden. Here's some more context:

    On 13 June, the President told George Stephanopoulos that he would accept damaging information on his political rivals from a foreign government.

    Page 8: This is going to open a barrel of worms for Trump.

    According to multiple White House officials I spoke with, the transcript of the President's call with President was placed into a computer system managed directly by the National Security Council (NSC) Directorate for Intelligence Programs. This is a standalone computer system reserved for codeword-level intelligence information, such as covert action. According to information I received from White House officials, some officials voiced concerns internally that this would be an abuse of the system and was not consistent with the responsibilities of the Directorate for Intelligence Programs. According to White House officials I spoke with, this was "not the first time" under this Administration that a Presidential transcript was placed into this codeword-level system solely for the purpose of protecting politically sensitive rather than national security sensitive information.

    This is damning. There is no doubt that the House impeachment inquiry will go after the other "politically sensitive" conversations that Trump is covering up.
    Page 9:

    On 18 July, an Office of Management and Budget (OMB) official informed Departments and Agencies that the President "earlier that month" had issued instructions to suspend all US. security assistance to Ukraine. Neither OMB nor the NSC staff knew why this instruction had been issued. During interagency meetings on 23 July and 26 July, OMB officials again stated explicitly that the instruction to suspend this assistance had come directly from the President, but they still were unaware of a policy rationale.

    Reading between the lines, it's obvious why Trump is withholding the money. If everything in this document is true, Trump has committed impeachable offenses. Every Congressperson should vote on either his impeachment or removal.
    The sad part is that this didn't have to be an issue, but pro-Trump hacks ginned up this faux controversy involving Biden, and Trump-Giuliani bought into that conspiracy-theory rubbish, so much so that Trump would commit high crimes and misdemeanors.
     

    Paul Montagu (f2c051)

  18. Established procedures on data storage include a bathroom server and bleachbit. So, it’s a definite deviation.

    Munroe (53beca) — 9/26/2019 @ 9:35 am

    So you’re saying what Trump did was to a similar end as what Hillary did? Does this mean you’ll start chanting “lock him up” at rallies?

    Time123 (b4d075)

  19. Time123 (b4d075) — 9/26/2019 @ 9:57 am

    Bone up on the meaning of “definite deviation”.

    Munroe (53beca)

  20. I hear Mueller is available.

    Tanned, rested and ready.

    Possible titles this round:

    Russia Collusion II – Electric Boogaloo
    The Ukranian Connection
    Weekend At Bernies IV (we’re already using WaB III for RBG)
    An Officer and an Orange Man

    Frosty, Fp (f27e97)

  21. ush Limbaugh: Did you know that Adam schiff has had the whistblower complaint on his desk since August.

    (I knew that they had to have it in order to know there waas an issue. I thought maybe it was a leak. Still unclear how he got it. This issue stated when the committee wanted to know why it wasn’t forwarded. It was?

    Rush: No major media has mentoned the Crowdstrike matter and he’s inclined to think therefore that it’s all true that the Russians didn’t hack the DNC.

    Rush: Biden has admitted to pressuring Ukraine to remove a prosecutor who was after Biden’s son. (paraphrase)

    No, Biden did not say he was after his son, and while Biden “admitted” causing the prosecutor to nbe fired, he lied – he highly exaggerated his role.

    And the source for the claim that the prosecutor was pursuing Biden’s son is pricipally (sp?) statements Giuliani has from 3 ex-prosecutors, and he says he has one statement from another denying it so it’s 3-1 he says.

    https://www.foxnews.com/transcript/denzel-washington-on-the-club-that-made-him-the-man-he-is-today

    There are three videotapes of prosecutors on record, available on here, that nobody has covered for five months, because this town protects Joe Biden….

    …The reality is that there are three other prosecutors where all you have to do is go online, three others, that say that this was done precisely to get rid of Biden, to cover up Hunter, and to cover up Soros.

    I will give you their names. One of them is Kulik, Konstantin Kulik. The other is Shokin himself. And the third one is a prosecutor by the name of Inazdir (ph).

    They are present officials. Three of them were officials. One is still an official of the Ukrainian government.

    If you bothered to look, you could listen to them on tape telling you that. Now, they may all be lying, but Lutsenko may be lying also. But it’s 3-1.

    Sammy Finkelman (27cd2c)

  22. ah the intercept, omidya has bought half of dc, he helped steer the standard into a ditch, looking back I think Gordon, was part of the leaks to undermine our relations with the kingdom, will she end up in some Qatari watering hole like ali soufan, like Robert grenier at al Jazeera, magic eightball says yes, did this contribute to an atmosphere where iran was emboldened to hit abquaiq, one could speculate,

    so durham, horowitz, Huber, have to be put on hold, because one gs 18, was resentful,

    narciso (d1f714)

  23. haven’t come across that name, but kaskov has been throwing shade on shokin

    https://www.kyivpost.com/ukraine-politics/court-reinstates-case-against-mykola-zlochevsky.html?cn-reloaded=1

    narciso (d1f714)

  24. Anotgher thing Rush Limbaugh said: The lawyer for the whistleblower (whi is male) is a Democrat who is connected with Clinton and Obama. He would be.

    Rush Limbaugh also said that they asked the DNI to opine on whether the whistleblower was apartisan hack (like Trump said) He didn’t say what he answered or if he answered the question. Rush thinks he is partisan,

    Sammy Finkelman (27cd2c)

  25. Same stuff, different day. But “this time” they’ve got him.

    Harcourt Fenton Mudd (0c349e)

  26. narciso @24:

    Followup or parallel story:

    https://dailycaller.com/2019/09/26/schiff-clarifies-fabricated-ukraine-transcript-parody

    Schiff Clarifies His Fabricated Account Of Ukraine Transcript By Calling It ‘Parody’

    September 26, 2019
    11:08 AM ET

    Democratic California Rep. Adam Schiff attempted to clarify his own fabricated account of President Donald Trump’s phone call with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky by calling it “parody.”

    House Intelligence Committee Chairman Schiff opened Thursday’s hearing with acting Director of National Intelligence Joseph Maguire with a factually challenged account of the phone call and transcript that was released Wednesday. (RELATED: Schiff Fabricates What Trump Said In Ukraine Call Transcript)

    Schiff later claimed that his assessment of the call was meant to be “parody.”

    “But also my summary of the president’s call was meant to be at least part in parody,” Schiff claimed. “The fact that that is not clear is a separate problem in and of itself. Of course, the president never said if you don’t understand me, I’m going to say it seven more times. My point is that’s the message that the Ukraine president was receiving. In not so many words.”

    Sammy Finkelman (27cd2c)

  27. Here’s a non–rightwing source that verifies that the Daiily Caller story is actuually true and not itself aparody (althouh it is worthy of the Babylon Bee)

    https://www.newsweek.com/adam-schiff-parody-donald-trump-congressional-hearing-whistleblower-complaint-ukraine-call-1461579

    Democratic Rep. Adam Schiff of California is taking heat from Republicans after he took some artistic license paraphrasing the transcript of President Donald Trump’s call with Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelensky.

    Speaking in his role as the chair of the House Intelligence Committee on Thursday, Schiff attempted to parody the president’s comments in the call during a hearing on the whistleblower’s complaint that helped bring Trump’s call with Zelensky—in which the U.S. leader appeared to ask the Ukranian president to investigate 2020 Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden and his son to light.

    “This is the essence of what the president communicates,” Schiff said: “We’ve been very good to your country. Very good. No other country has done as much as we have. But you know what, I don’t see much reciprocity here.”

    “I hear what you want. I have a favor I want from you, though and I’m gonna say this only seven times, so you better listen good,” Schiff continued, parodying Trump. “I want you to make up dirt on my political opponent, understand? Lots of it… on this and on that.”

    “I’m gonna put you in touch with people and not just any people. I’m gonna put you in touch with the Attorney General of the United States…Bill Barr. He’s got the whole weight of the American law enforcement behind him and I’m gonna put you in touch with Rudy. You’re gonna love him, trust me,” he said. “You know what I’m asking, so I’m only going to say this a few more times in a few more ways. And by the way, don’t call me again; I’ll call you when you’ve done what I asked.”

    Closing out his pastiche, Schiff said: “This is in sum and character what the president was trying to communicate with the president of Ukraine.”

    Starting from “I’m gonna say this only seven times, so you better listen good” it’s not even close to the transcript of the call. This is all made up.

    Now Schiff claimed he was getting into the inner meaning.

    Anyway, that’s where the “Trump was acting like a Mafia thug idea” comes from.

    If Trump hadn’t released he transcript, maybe somebody woud have leaked that version.

    Sammy Finkelman (27cd2c)

  28. Regarding CNN going Zimmerman 911 Call on Trump:

    “Over at Fox News, Sheppard Smith made the exact same edit. So did MSNBC’s Nicole Wallace and Katy Tur. CNN did it a second time in this clip with Jim Acosta and Wolf Blitzer. Arguably worse, the Washington Post ran the exact same lie — and it is a lie — as the top story on their front page this morning. If there are other examples, and I’m sure there are, you shouldn’t be at all surprised……

    ……….Is there a single “fact” in this whole mess that is actually true? I think that’s a fair question. Another fair question is, why should anyone with a single lick of damn sense give any credence to anything coming out of the mainstream media? The third question is: Where do they go from here? The Democrats place the biggest bet — impeachment — and lost on a busted flush. No, wait… the whole l’Affair Ukraine wasn’t even that good a hand. The MSN-DNC went all-in on a pocket deuce and seven.

    If we had an honest media, maybe they’d do some real digging into the Biden family’s dealings with Ukraine and China. They might even be able to find out a thing or two about Mitt Romney’s advisor who sits on the Burisma (the Ukraine energy giant which also hired Hunter Biden) board of directors. There’s still an awful lot of stink to this story, but the MSM-DNC only cares if the stench comes from the Trump White House.”

    https://pjmedia.com/vodkapundit/lies-damned-lies-and-democrats-the-msm-dncs-worst-week-ever/

    harkin (58d012)

  29. And lol people who pushed the Steele memo characterizing Trump as requesting someone ‘make up dirt’.

    harkin (58d012)

  30. Your policy position may be the correct one. But the deviation from established process could be evidence that they knew the conversation was damaging and were trying to hide it.

    Or they’ve had so many leaks that established processes are fluid. I wouldn’t be surprised to see more of this and a larger air gap between the WH and IC.

    But sure, the interpretation most unfavorable to Trump is probably the most reasonable one.

    Frosty, Fp (f27e97)

  31. This latest event only reinforces that where you exaggerate and engage in double standards, your core charge gets lost in a haze of non-credibility.

    At the core, Trump did something rotten. But Biden did something similar only a couple of years ago. And now the Democrats cannot seem to put the charge without wild exaggerations. And this after the ridiculous “Russian collusion” farce we have been treated to for some two years.

    Most people are going to look at this and think it is nothing but the usual partisan blather and ignore it.

    Old Aesop had it right. Don’t cry wolf where there is none. Because tomorrow there may well be a wolf, and no one will come running to help you.

    Bored Lawyer (998177)

  32. ‘This is not going away anytime soon. That I can tell you….’

    And I can tell you after just three weeks back from their famed “August recess,” Congress recesses again, Friday, September 27 and won’t reconvene until October 15. Check their calendar–just 38 scheduled “work days” for the Senate and House left in the 2019 calendar year for those lazy-azzed bastards.

    Two weeks is a decade in today’s news cycles. Check back to August and just count the number of mass shootings and hurricane disasters alone. Neat trick; call for impeachment on a Monday– and take a break by Friday.

    Unless they stay in session to pursue this, hard for Americans to take anything those twits do seriously.

    DCSCA (797bc0)

  33. Time123, at 12: that’s it in a nutshell. Maybe these *should* be automatically classified as highly sensitive, but if the whistleblower complaint is accurate, they aren’t.

    So why single out this one?

    aphrael (3f0569)

  34. The trick for the media is to tar trump with this without any tar getting on and sticking to the bidens.

    lany (bb9eb9)

  35. Great analysis, Patrick and Paul M

    Dave (820a58)

  36. @36. He’s stuck- but good. ‘Influence peddling’ is gooey stuff.

    DCSCA (797bc0)

  37. I think Barr is interested in the origins of the Russian. Crowdstrike is potentially part of that.
    I don’t think Barr would go after Biden. That is Guiliani’s job.

    steveg (354706)

  38. it’s a policy dispute, but with democrats it becomes holy writ, as fred fleitz explained, the daisy chain that brought this to the national attention over matters, with Atkinson covering his superiors boss at the national security division,

    narciso (d1f714)

  39. no it’s not accurate, not as much as Schiff’s presentation, of course he met with glenn simpson last year in aspen, that’s not suspicious at all,

    narciso (d1f714)

  40. #37 That sure is some damning hearsay.

    Paul. I appreciate your thoughtful work.
    Dave complimented you as well, but Dave seems to have turned off the most fundamental of tools. Its a tool brought to us by our legal system and it is a BS removing tool. This BS removing tool eliminates hearsay as evidence. Witnesses can’t use hearsay and are not allowed to chatterbox on about ideas, speculations, embellishments to things they heard from so and so.

    I think Paul misspoke and identified the gossip as the IG. It doesn’t matter how many people the hearsay guy says he heard were on the call, it doesn’t matter what else he says. The nuggets of truths he has seemed to have stumbled upon could be surrounded by total embellishments or not. Until we get people who actually have first hand info, the gossip should be shown off the stage so Adam Schiff can resume his search for the truth with his pal OJ.

    The call transcript should supercede the whistleblower at this point because, well, the whistleblower wasn’t there.

    Paul notes that the second or third hand gossip monger says Barr and Guiliani are involved. Transcript released has their names in it as people who subsequent to the call will be getting in touch. Transcript does not sound as damning as “whistleblower” says nor is it as long winded. Go figure. This is a recurring theme since the transcript was 5 short pages and the gossip took up 9 long pages, the footnotes alone almost take up as much room than the call transcript does. Short on actual knowledge, long on footnotes is a bit of a red flag.

    The gossip does name T. Ulrich Brechbuhl as being in on the call and rather than hear the whistleblower natter on further about his footnotes regarding the hearsay, lets hear from T. Ulrich and anyone else the WH can offer up who was actually on the call.

    The gossip letter led Paul to say there is more to this than just a phone call. Hell, the phone call transcript clearly shows that the phone call is part of something larger, benign or otherwise. Hearsay about this “larger” thing only muddies the waters which is probably part of plan

    Trump praised Lutsenko. So? So he has no training, hmmm, I am suspicious that the Ukrainian legal system appears to be different than ours.
    The HG (Hearsay Guy from now on “HG”) says transcript was wiped from one server then transferred to another but HG actually has no first hand knowledge… for all we know it might have been put directly in the more confidential server, the reasons may not be nefarious, we have no idea how Obama, Bush or others handled theirs etc.

    Trump fired HG’s favorite ambassador. OMG! Transcript shows new Ukrainian leader happy she is out, thanks Trump for bringing it up.

    Page 7 shows HG conjecture about hearsay quoted as “play ball” which is odd since he wasn’t privy personally to those discussions (Actually all 9 pages contain HG’s conjecture based on hearsay)

    OMG HG hears a codeword level system was used for politically damaging material. No way of knowing if this was true or not, but since the transcript was released, and it isn’t that bad politically (although the spin surrounding it is screaming impeachment… for what? high crimes? Misdemeanors?), maybe HG should take a Valium and a nap.

    HG says: On 18 July, an Office of Management and Budget (OMB) official informed Departments and Agencies that the President “earlier that month” had issued instructions to suspend all US. security assistance to Ukraine. Neither OMB nor the NSC staff knew why this instruction had been issued. During interagency meetings on 23 July and 26 July, OMB officials again stated explicitly that the instruction to suspend this assistance had come directly from the President, but they still were unaware of a policy rationale.

    Trump addresses his desire for the EU to take a larger role in assisting the Ukraine on the call.

    Right now the only guy who is talking that knows anything first hand is Trump… you may not find Trump believable, but at least he was there…. which is more than HG can say. God forbid HG would ever stop speculating and embellishing something HG doesn’t really know first hand.

    steveg (354706)

  41. ABC News has issues an update on the last part of Dana’s post (see the embedded link that Dana provided):

    “CORRECTION: An earlier version of this article incorrectly described Serhiy Leshchenko as a current advisor to Ukraine’s president Volodymyr Zelenskiy. Leshchenko advised Zelenskiy’s transition team following his election in April but has since been distanced by the administration. He is no longer advising Zelenskiy.”

    Fury (de2714)

  42. Sorry, not Dana but Patterico.

    Fury (de2714)

  43. steveg:

    “Hearsay Guy” said there was a transcript of a damning telephone call between Trump and the president of the Ukraine, followed by an attempted cover-up. And there was.

    Trump’s initial defense: “Is anyone dumb enough to believe I would say something inappropriate?”

    That was his actual defense. Donald Freaking Cheetoh Jeebus Trump. He actually said that.

    And – under mounting pressure – only a few days later he released documentary proof that he did, in fact, do exactly the specific thing he denied.

    I’d say Mr. “Hearsay Guy” is waaay ahead in the credibility battle.

    Dave (1bb933)

  44. “Dave complimented you as well, but Dave seems to have turned off the most fundamental of tools. Its a tool brought to us by our legal system and it is a BS removing tool. This BS removing tool eliminates hearsay as evidence. Witnesses can’t use hearsay and are not allowed to chatterbox on about ideas, speculations, embellishments to things they heard from so and so.”

    INADMISSIBLE

    -adj.

    Not competent to be considered. Said of certain kinds of testimony which juries are supposed to be unfit to be entrusted with, and which judges, therefore, rule out, even of proceedings before themselves alone. Hearsay evidence is inadmissible because the person quoted was unsworn and is not before the court for examination; yet most momentous actions, military, political, commercial and of every other kind, are daily undertaken on hearsay evidence. There is no religion in the world that has any other basis than hearsay evidence. Revelation is hearsay evidence; that the Scriptures are the word of God we have only the testimony of men long dead whose identity is not clearly established and who are not known to have been sworn in any sense. Under the rules of evidence as they now exist in this country, no single assertion in the Bible has in its support any evidence admissible in a court of law. It cannot be proved that the battle of Blenheim ever was fought, that there was such as person as Julius Caesar, such an empire as Assyria.

    But as records of courts of justice are admissible, it can easily be proved that powerful and malevolent magicians once existed and were a scourge to mankind. The evidence (including confession) upon which certain women were convicted of witchcraft and executed was without a flaw; it is still unimpeachable. The judges’ decisions based on it were sound in logic and in law. Nothing in any existing court was ever more thoroughly proved than the charges of witchcraft and sorcery for which so many suffered death. If there were no witches, human testimony and human reason are alike destitute of value.

    (Credit to Ambrose Bierce)

    Davethulhu (fab944)

  45. Won’t be surprised to hear a ‘Barr-thump-a’ one day… every’body’ goes under the bus sooner or later working for this dude.

    Then there’s pumps-or-flats-Rudolph, the-Cross-Dressed-Pain, dear; a hero is just a sandwich but pardon him boys, ’cause that’s the cat who’s wearin’ new shoes.

    What color is your parachute, Mike?

    DCSCA (797bc0)

  46. I hope its golden from careful planning and not the reflex bodily response from fear:

    http://m.huffpost.com/us/entry/us_5d8c49c6e4b0e9e760472a5b?test_ad=readmo_test

    urbanleftbehind (46fef7)

  47. 48: I swear, if this all results in President Pelosi, I will seriously consider the notion that there is a god with a seriously overdeveloped sense of humor.

    john (cd2753)

  48. AFAICT (IANAL), the whistleblower’s letter is meant as an investigatory tool, not evidence in and of itself, until it was suppressed. Once it was suppressed, it became evidence, in and of itself, of possible law-breaking. Investigators use hearsay all the time during investigations. Given that it has so far led to the transcript of the phonecall, various avenues of investigation, and several possible witnesses, it has been a valuable tool of investigation and, given Maguire’s testimony, it has also been valuable as evidence in and of itself of possible law-breaking.

    Nic (896fdf)

  49. Say rather, an interrogator’s tool. It made Trump confess.

    I haven’t read it all that close, but the lawyers who drafted it for the whistleblower seem to still follow the Aguillar-Spinelli standard for indicia of reliability, averring credible and reliable informants and the underlying circumstances. It could be used to establish probable cause. It would not be admissible into evidence in a criminal prosecution unless it was first established that the defendant had caused the declarants to be unavailable to testify in person.

    nk (9651fb)

  50. UPDATE: Looks like the ABC News story was garbage.

    Patterico (527a2e)

  51. “UPDATE: Looks like the ABC News story was garbage.”

    Oh Well. At least the media will now enter a state of self reflection. Really.

    And this dude Leshchenko was a source for Fusion GPS, according to Nellie Ohr. Small world!

    https://dailycaller.com/2019/09/26/abc-bungles-trump-zelensky-report/

    Munroe (53beca)

  52. “Looks like the ABC News story was garbage.”

    The entire story, top to bottom, from the “Intelligence Community” member pushing it to the large number of “Intelligence Community” Democrats who possessed far too many incriminating details of the story to have been anything other than corrupt colluders in its planning and execution, is absolute garbage.

    Leftover garbage, good for taking Biden and his family (who actually resembles the BRUTISH DISRESPECTER OF THE RULE OF LAW you’re so desperate to paint Trump as) out of the race, not too good for thinking people interested in how negotiations go.

    But take heart, despite your abject failure to make any actual crimes stick and your even more abject failure to compare and contrast his ations with normative behavior in the last administration (to say nothing of pre-Obama Republican and Democrat administrations in the long-long ago before times) I expect you still have at least one good rant in you that will focus heavily on the letter of the law and none of its real-world practice and enforcement.

    Good luck, and remember, the only limit is your imagination!

    Seinfeld Train Game (35815f)

  53. The entire story, top to bottom, from the “Intelligence Community” member pushing it to the large number of “Intelligence Community” Democrats who possessed far too many incriminating details of the story to have been anything other than corrupt colluders in its planning and execution, is absolute garbage.

    Except Trump admitted it using his best words, well words, he just thinks its cool.

    Leftover garbage, good for taking Biden and his family (who actually resembles the BRUTISH DISRESPECTER OF THE RULE OF LAW you’re so desperate to paint Trump as) out of the race, not too good for thinking people interested in how negotiations go.

    You funny man.

    But take heart, despite your abject failure to make any actual crimes stick and your even more abject failure to compare and contrast his ations with normative behavior in the last administration (to say nothing of pre-Obama Republican and Democrat administrations in the long-long ago before times) I expect you still have at least one good rant in you that will focus heavily on the letter of the law and none of its real-world practice and enforcement.

    Who is this “you” that you keep referring too?

    By “normative behavior”, are you referring to the times presidents didn’t commit crimes in plain site and admit to it? Because those were good times.

    In the real world, breaking the law is a bad thing, or are you saying that being a criminal is a good thing?

    Please, continue to enlighten us with your brilliant wit.

    Colonel Klink (Ret) (6e7a1c)

  54. This BS removing tool eliminates hearsay as evidence.

    This “hearsay” business is a red herring, steve. The whistleblower was thorough at assembling the accounts (which makes sense because he’s a trained CIA analyst), but the important thing to know is that his account was corroborated by the IG from more than a half dozen other sources, not to mention Trump’s own words, not to mention the memorandum from that infamous phone call. It’ll only be further confirmed when the NSC turns over the word-for-word transcript. Oh, and there were a dozen White House and State officials who listened in on the call.

    Paul Montagu (f2c051)

  55. I get only “404” messages on the “ABCNews Story was garbage” links.

    Help?

    jim2 (a5dc71)

  56. Hi Paul.
    Thanks for your measured response.

    His account of the call was pretty good…. the rest of it is what is speculative hearsay.
    The IG verified that the hearsay account of the call was accuraate enough to be credible.
    The DOJ passed on it because the call itself isn’t a smoking gun and all the rest of the whistleblowing was, well, noise from a whistle

    Reporting is now showing that when Ukrainian legal approached the US Attorney in NY with info, they were ignored. They are saying they are the ones who then approached Guiliani.
    Not sure that makes anything better, but it is an area where the whistleblower was blowing his whistle in a way that made taking the call “involvement” and casting it in a nefarious light (“I had to blow the whistle on this”).
    I can’t figure out why a private attorney can’t take a call and then talk about it with his client. I can’t figure out why the private attorney can’t approach the AG… granted my attorney does not get that meeting, but if the AG thinks there may be corruption by a US actor or election meddling etc. I would expect him to follow through, politics be damned.

    Finally, my feeling is that the noise from the whistle extends to inferring that Trump was working the Ukrainian president by withholding funds quid pro quo… and accusing Trump of doing what Biden actually did. There is evidence money was held back before the call (reporting that it was withheld the week before the call seems to have been in error, now that date has been pushed to about a month before the call), but we don’t have definitive proof of the why either way yet…. plenty of speculation about “Mafia-style shakedown” coming from those who hate Trump, but no real hard evidence yet. The only real evidence so far is Trump saying he did it to try to leverage the rest of the EU to pony up more funds. The call seems to verify that to a degree, not to a certainty, but from the transcript:

    “I will say that we do a lot for Ukraine. We spend a lot of effort and a lot of time. Much more than the European countries are doing and they should be helping you more than they are. Germany does almost nothing for you. All they do is talk and I think it’s something that you should really ask them about. When I was speaking to Angela Merkel she talks Ukraine, but she ·doesn’t do anything. A lot of the European countries are the same way so I think it’s something you want to look at but the United States has been very very good to Ukraine. I wouldn’t say that it’s reciprocal necessarily because things are happening that are not good but the United States has been very very good to Ukraine.
    President Zelenskyy: Yes you are absolutely right. Not only 100%, but actually 1000% and I can tell you the following; I did talk to Angela Merkel and I did meet with her I also met and talked with Macron and I told them that they are not doing quite as much as they need to be doing on the issues with the sanctions. They are not enforcing the sanctions. They are not working as much as they should work for Ukraine. It turns out that even though logically, the European Union should be our biggest partner but technically the United States is a much bigger partner than the European Union and I’m very grateful to you for that because the United States is doing quite a lot for Ukraine. Much more than the European Union especially when we are talking about sanctions against the Russian Federation. I would also like to thank you for your great support in the area of defense. We are ready to continue to cooperate for the next steps specifically we are almost. ready to buy more Javelins from the United States for defense purposes.”

    I’m willing to be shown evidence this is a “shakedown” rather than an attempt to leverage the EU to do more and the Ukraine to ask for more from the EU. From my point of view its a short call and the shakedown narrative is inconclusive so far.

    If I was on a jury for this, right now my vote would not be not guilty, it’d be GTFO.

    steveg (354706)

  57. Those words you are using, it tells you the patethetic quality of what passes for intelligence reporting

    Narciso (beeb9a)

  58. 58. Trump seems to have been thinking in terms of money suppplied to Ukraine, but Zelensky is thking in terms of sanctions on Russia – wich the Unites states also did more of.

    nk has it right that that the Ukraine needed the United States so much that asking anyiing could be a quid pro quo. Now the claim would be that Trump tried to force Ukraine or put pressue on Ukraine to do something – that he threatened to not do something of they didn’t do something. This didn’t happen. And certainly not, even worse, that Trump wanted a fake case against Biden. I see Trump as being cautious here. He merely asked the Ukrainian president to get to the botto of things. He said they would – that should not be taken as a hint to make something up.

    The idea of asking Ukraine to gin up a story probably never even entered his mind. It would not be successful. But Trump thought there was a possibility that what Giuliani said was true. So, of course, why not find out?

    Sammy Finkelman (1a8d7e)

  59. steveg @58:

    accusing Trump of doing what Biden actually did.

    No, what Biden pretended to have done. Biden did not do the very thing that Trump is accused of (eanning withholding aid to get Ukraine to d something) because the whole story that Biden told to the Council on Foreign Relations on January 23, 2018 is made up!

    We are in Twin Peaks territory here.

    Biden’s story has been fact checked. He last visited Kiev in December, 2015, not in March when the prosecutor was replaced, (Biden’s story has him getting Ukrianian president Petro Poroshenko to agree to fire the prosecutor, whom Biden does not name, and then eemingly slowing down the process, and then after Biden cancels the press conference announcing the loan giarantee, and saying, bluffing or not, that they’re not getting the billion dollars, snd giving them six hours, and then the firing being done, although you could read it to say the firing happened later)

    And the loan guarantee wasn’t given until June, the day after Ukraine passed apackage of anti-corruption legislation I don’t know who wrote, and Obama publicly tied the loan giarantee to doing thing aagnst cotrution bk n November, 2015.

    You can look at the dog didn’t bark: Any explanation, by former President Barack Obama, by former Secretary of State John Kerry, by other officials by even anonymous sources, of just what the United States did do wth regard to the withholding of $1 billion in loan guarantees and the replacement of the Prosecutor General.

    There was pressure put by the United States government (not to fire teh prosecutor but to do awhole bunch of things) but where are the detaiils?

    Where is the story saying “this is how it went down..?”

    We’ve only heard about pressure coming from other countries but nothing about what anybody else in the United States government, besides Biden, did.

    They’re letting the Biden story stand, without any elaboration. (and without correction)

    They can’t discuss anyting without risking it being revealed…

    That Joe Biden made up that anecdote about the cancelled press conference and its possible successful results!

    Obama did ask for a quid pro quo (not Biden, how could a vice resident do that?) but for honest purposes (even if maybe perhaps much too prescriptive, and in the end, mostly ineffective.)

    Sammy Finkelman (fac2c6)

  60. shows how important the Biden issue was for Trump: discussion of Biden was a precondition for the call taking place to begin with:

    But after weeks of discussions with American officials, Ukrainian officials came to understand there was a condition for any meeting with Trump, the former adviser said.

    The call was made in order to congratulate Zelensky on the election victory on his party in Parliament. The people who set it up expected it to be routine, and contain only platitudes, and then Trump starts talking about relations in general between the US. and Ukraine , comparing the United States favorably with European countries and then Trump mentions two things he hopes will be investigated, describingthem in a way few people would agree.

    It was ameeting that supposedly they neded to do things about Biden But that;’s not true.

    Sammy Finkelman (102c75)

  61. The New York Times devoted the top half of its front page to this (3 stories plus enlarged excerts from the complaint) and printed the entire letter, with its footnotes, inside.

    The New York Times used to print entire documents in the printted editon of the paper bt it hasdsn’t done that for almost fifty years now I think.

    I’m glad they did. It’s much easier on paper to read and go back and forth between the text and the footnotes.

    Although I can’t understand what’s the crime or the violation of an executive order.

    The original complaant maybe had it using the presdiency for personal beneft – somebpdy he sent it tried to make it acampaign finance violation.

    Another problem maybe is using he classified system to protect politically sensitive information rather than national security sensitive.

    Sammy Finkelman (fac2c6)

  62. Still sticking to the “mafia style shakedown”?
    New York Times. They are unrepentant trump humpers
    “Mr. Trump did not discuss the delay in the military assistance on the July 25 call with Mr. Zelensky, according to people familiar with the conversation. A Ukrainian official said Mr. Zelensky’s government did not learn of the delay until about one month after the call,” the Times reported.

    steveg (354706)

  63. Still sticking to the “mafia style shakedown”?
    New York Times. They are unrepentant trump humpers
    “Mr. Trump did not discuss the delay in the military assistance on the July 25 call with Mr. Zelensky, according to people familiar with the conversation. A Ukrainian official said Mr. Zelensky’s government did not learn of the delay until about one month after the call,” the Times reported.

    You should maybe read the whole thing. That was from Lutsenko, you know the fired prosecutor that has been feeding Rudytooti conspiracy theories. The actual president of Ukraine says they knew, mainly because it was published that the OMB had stalled it…a month before. They just read it in the paper, and watched it on the news.

    But if you copypasta only part of the sentence, you only get part of the information.

    Colonel Klink (Ret) (6e7a1c)

  64. What is three years of withholding heavy weapons from ukraine, i have reservations about getying involved in a hatfields/mccoy fight but since it has been done.

    Narciso (beeb9a)

  65. Hakeem Jeffries said on Fox News Sunday that in February they were told by the administration that the military aid Congeress had appropriated to Ukraine was on its way and in May they were told aid was on its way annd. They were also told that all necessary pre-conditions including as related to corruption had been met. {This seems to have been an agreement between the Pentagon and the State Department and maybe smebody still had to sign off on it -SF]

    It seems like on July 18 a decision was made to hold it up. (it was NOT announced, as Chuck Todd had it today on Meet the Press in his discussion witth Muchael McFaul.)

    July 25 was the phone call. (the transcript said Zelensky said it was initiated by the U.S. side – thw whistleblower complaint says he does not know who initiated it)

    August 12 was thw whistleblower complaint.

    September 9 was the (announcement? beginning?) of a House inquiry into the unforwarding of the whistleblower complaint.

    September 11 the aid – and then some ($145 million from the State Department that Ukraine was not paying attention to) – was released. Many, many Senators had also complained.

    It seems like most people in the U.S. government had no idea – or had differing ideas – as to why the military aid to Ukraine was being held up. So the reason was very closely held. (My theory would be that Trump was considering using this as leverage to get Ukraine to make a deal with Russia, or that he thought a deal was so close, it wouldn’t be necessary to send the aid.0

    Sammy Finkelman (00fff5)

  66. 65. Senator Chris Murphy said on or after September 20 that Zelensky had expressed concerns to him that the Trump administration was withholding U.S. aid to compel an investigation.

    But Murphy didn’t say this until it became known that Trump had wanted Buden looked into.

    On Sept 11 Murphy, who met with Zelensky on Septrmeber 5, said that Zelensky was “flummoxed” by it.

    https://freebeacon.com/national-security/sen-chris-murphy-changes-his-story-on-zelensky-meeting/

    Murphy initially told news reporters in a Sept. 11 briefing that the Ukrainian president was “flummoxed” by the administration’s suspension of aid and wanted to reach a resolution to keep it flowing. Neither Zelensky nor any other official he spoke with brought up political requests from the Trump administration, he said, adding that they “didn’t talk in depth” about the issue.

    When news reports made public the whistleblower complaint public, Murphy called a press conference and offered a much more detailed recollection of his conversation with Zelensky.

    The senator said Monday that the “entire new Ukrainian administration” including Zelensky told him they believed the United States withheld aid due to his “unwillingness to investigate the Bidens.”

    “Once I got on the ground there, I heard about how confused the entire new Ukrainian administration was about the nature of these demands they were getting from the Trump administration to conduct this political investigation, and that they worry that the aid that was being cut off to Ukraine by the president was a consequence for their unwillingness, at the time, to investigate the Bidens,” Murphy said, adding that the concern was relayed to him “from the president directly.”

    Murphy did not, however, relay any of this information to reporters in the Sept. 11 briefing, where he stressed the limited nature of his conversation with Zelensky on the issue.

    Sammy Finkelman (00fff5)

  67. The correct link to the Twitter post by Pat about the ABC story:

    https://twitter.com/christopherjm/status/1177157248004579329

    Just some other stuff around the link that was not supposed to be there/not needed.

    BfC (5517e8)

  68. Trump didn’t ask Barr to investigate Biden or even (yet) to contact the Ukrainian government about anything, and the explanation as to why he did not, even though he said he was going to, cold be that he was going to do that only after working it out with Giuliani.

    Sammy Finkelman (7c54bd)


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