Friday, September 20, 2019

"Whistleblower" Endgame? WaPo: No Quid Pro Quo

The WaPo is reporting that, in his July 25th phone call with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, President Trump did not offer an explicit quid pro quo if Ukraine launched an investigation into former Vice President Joe Biden's son as initially reported. Per Zerohedge, Did Trump-Biden-Ukraine Drama Just Implode? WaPo Reports No "Quid Pro Quo" Offered During Phone Call:

The latest 'smoking gun' Democrats have been clinging to in search of that ever-elusive Trump impeachment may have just imploded - after the Washington Post quietly reported on Friday evening that a July 25 phone call between President Trump and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky did not contain an explicit quid pro quo if Ukraine launched an investigation into former Vice President Joe Biden's son as initially reported.  
While President Trump did reportedly "pressure the recently elected leader to more aggressively pursue" the investigation, "Trump did not raise the issue of American military and intelligence aid that had been pledged to Ukraine, indicating there was not an explicit quid pro quo in that call." 
So - the current US president asked Ukraine to conduct a legal investigation into the former US Vice President, who openly bragged about withholding $1 billion in US loan guarantees unless they fired the guy investigating his son and his son's company - and there was no quid pro quo offered in exchange for that investigation - at least not on that phone call. 

Recall that in the past I've placed great emphasis on the various attempts to discover Trump in some situation that could be construed as a quid pro quo exchange--especially the Trump Tower meeting between top Trump campaign aides and the Russian lawyer, Veselnitskaya. The obvious reason for all these efforts, including the present one, is to try to claim that Trump has violated some federal criminal statute, such as the Bribery Act. Before the election that would have led to Trump being indicted as a candidate, and at this point it would have been grounds for impeachment. In each instance Trump has proved far too smart to get involved in such obvious illegality, and the present case is apparently no exception.

Gregg Jarrett points out the very obvious problems with the claim that the person spying on Trump is, in fact, a "whistleblower" for purposes of the Intelligence Community Whistleblower Protection Act (ICWPA). For starters, the ICWPA is designed to protect Intel Community employees who have "urgent concerns" regarding matters internal to the Intel Community and its component agencies. The ICWPA helpfully provides a definition of just what would be an "urgent concern":

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

In other words, the ICWPA applies to matters internal to the Intel Community and its agencies. But the POTUS isn't part of the Intel Community. Of course, that would not have been a concern for Schiff or the other Dems, as long as they could get evidence of that crucial quid pro quo.

Jarret sets out 5 points in this regard, of which the last 3 are very much to our point, some of which we've already mentioned:

3.     Article II of the Constitution gives the president sweeping power to conduct foreign affairs, negotiate with leaders of other nations, make demands or offer promises.  The Constitution does not grant the power of review, approval or disapproval to spies or other unelected officials in the executive branch.
4.     The ICWPA law defines the parameters of an “urgent concern” complaint as an abuse or violation of law “relating to the funding, administration, or operations of an intelligence activity involving classified information, but does not include differences of opinions concerning public policy matters.”  The president’s conversation with a foreign leader does not seem to fall under this whistleblower definition.
5.     It appears the acting Director of National Intelligence (DNI) agrees with this assessment.  His agency’s general counsel wrote a letter stating the complaint did not meet the ICWPA definition because it involved conduct “from someone outside the intel community and did not relate to intelligence activity”, according to a report by Fox News.  This is why the DNI refused to forward the complaint to congress.

Now, Jarrett captions his article, The Whistleblower May Not Be A Whistleblower At All, and that could prove significant. While Jarrett doesn't raise the question himself, there is a very obvious question to be asked. If the "whistleblower" isn't an actual whistleblower for purposes of the ICWPA, then what is he? What is his legal status?

Matt Whitaker--who seems to be everywhere these days--provided a possible answer to that question to Fox News:

Well, I think the only thing we know is this individual, especially if they're the source for the Washington Post, may have violated the law in providing intelligence and classified information to the press via leak, outside the bounds of the way the system is set up to be.

It would be very satisfying to see this individual prosecuted. However, I doubt that will happen, simply because I doubt the phony "whistleblower" is the actual leaker--that would be Adam Schiff or an aide, in my best guess.


  1. I, too, would have been shocked if Trump were stupid enough to offer something for a reopened investigation. I just assumed he had not since the leaker hasn't seen fit to leak the transcript, or the recording of the conversation. This was always the tell that the entire matter was a sham.

    1. Yeah. Since the source is an intel guy, I hafta assume that the intended target was Trump, rather than Biden. But maybe the Dems thought, hey, two birds, one stone, works for us. Here's the thing. I believe he has to be certified as a whistleblower before he can talk to anyone--even to Congress. If he leaked, even to Congress, he could be in real trouble.

    Tom S.

  3. It's the Washington gotcha game on steroids and on overdrive.

    There's a NYT editor I know socially, and literally every month since the inauguration, he's exclaimed "Trump's really stepped in it" over various episodes served up as Veuve Clicquot champagne that in reality are day-old, warm beer of no consequence.

    And they are clueless about the impression such efforts make on the populace who isn't sitting on the edge of their seat due to the hyped sensationalism and outrage turned up to 11.

  4. Simple question.

    The former Vice President of the United States exerted the pressure of his office to have a prosecutor of a foreign country fired. On the face of it one has to wonder what business it is of the Vice President who is prosecuting what in the foreign country...

    In a subsequent administration the President of the United States requests that the foreign country investigate the facts and circumstances surrounding the former Vice President's actions.

    Presumably, the former Vice President is not forthcoming with an explanation.

    And this is wrong?


    1. As John Solomon reports (linked above) the "news" is a lie. Trump isn't pressuring anybody. Ukraine has attempted to communicate with Trump via our State Dept, which has blocked the attempts. Ukraine then went around State to communicate with Trump. State Dept then stopped stonewalling. Finally, a phone call with Trump because State Dept was so dysfunctional.

    2. It appears that the big issue is that the Obama appointed ambassador to Ukraine was refusing to do her job and was blocking Ukraine officials from entering the US to discuss this matter with US officials.

      Paul Mirengoff, citing Never Trump and one week presidential candidate David French, finds something improper about Trump's personal lawyer getting involved, supposedly at the request of the State Dept:

      However, John Solomon--who has spoken with persons who were personally involved--says that Giuliani's involvement was more complicated than people like David French think.

      The Ambassador to Ukraine was yanked ahead of schedule, apparently after stepping in in a big way in the Ukraine elections--demanding that the Ukraine anti-corruption prosecutor be fired.

      So it seems that normal State Dept. functioning wasn't happening, and that may explain Ukraine reaching out to people who could communicate with the US governemt for them, since normal channels were being blocked.

  5. Seems like there was quid pro quo all over Biden's intervention in Ukrainian domestic affairs...

    1. Seems no doubt about it--Biden even bragged about it on camera, albeit without mentioning his son's role.

  6. Lastly, Trump must be closing in on the endgame -- full exposure of what we know Clinton and Obama were up to -- why else the insane -- there is no other word for it -- diversionary tactics of the Deep State and the American Pravda.

    I was glad... and relieved... to see AG Barr's name on the guest list for last night's State Dinner.

  7. Not sure I have ever posted four comments in a row, and apologies in advance, but here goes...

    Lastly (really), the fact that Trump's conversations with another country's chief executive are being leaked (whistleblown!) is proof positive of the enormous obstacles Trump is facing in his contest with the Deep State.

    Godspeed, Mr. President!

    1. Yes, and illustrates the difficulties Trump is having getting control over the Deep State.