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Whistle-Blower Charge Needs To Concern All Americans

September 20, 2019

In 2017 I listened as someone told me they could no longer watch the news as it was just so awful.  They had cast a ballot for Donald Trump in 2016 but found they could not follow what was happening as a result.   I thought that too rich for words.  And very dangerous for the nation.   It is, after all, only through an educated and informed electorate that we can make it through this colossal mess.

Which brings me to the topic that has gripped the nation this week, and also made me cringe as it is so awful to contemplate.

When Trump took office in 2017 James decided to get an online subscription to The Washington Post.  He knew that the reporting would be important to follow as our nation was headed into dangerous waters. So it was in that daily paper on September 5 we read the following.

“Is Trump strong-arming (Ukraine President) Volodymyr Zelensky for political gain?”  I had to read that twice as it made me wonder if I needed to get to bed and sleep, or if the news was really that troubling.

The allegation was front and center. Trump was trying to “force Ukraine to meddle in the 2020 election.”  Some backgroind for my readers catching up on this story.  Ukraine is front and center as Trump’s lawyer Rudy Giuliani has been trying to get the government there to look into the activities of Joe Biden’s son, Hunter Biden, who worked for a Ukrainian gas company.   This all goes to the heart of an attempt to improperly apply pressure on the country to aid Trump’s 2020 reelection bid.

The editorial board said Trump had “suspended the delivery of $250 million in U.S. military aid to a country still fighting Russian aggression in its eastern provinces,” leading some to suspect that he was “once again catering” to Vladimir Putin. “But we’re reliably told that the president has a second and more venal agenda: He is attempting to force Mr. Zelensky to intervene in the 2020 U.S. presidential election by launching an investigation of the leading Democratic candidate, Joe Biden,” the editorial said. “Mr. Trump is not just soliciting Ukraine’s help with his presidential campaign; he is using U.S. military aid the country desperately needs in an attempt to extort it.”

What hit me as much as the content of the editorial was the fact it originated from one of the gold-standards of American newspaper journalism,  The Washington Post.  And for those who follow the work of journalists the words “we’re reliably told,” made a truly staggering impression on me.

What followed since has made for daily news.   On September 13, we read that House Intelligence Committee chair Adam Schiff had issued a subpoena to Acting Director of National Intelligence Joseph Maguire, demanding that Maguire produce all the relevant details about an urgent whistleblower complaint that was being withheld.  To date, Maguire hasn’t done that.

Just yesterday we learned that the White House and the Department of Justice advised the nation’s top intelligence agency that the employee’s complaint “isn’t governed by laws covering intelligence whistleblowers.”

Staggering does not any longer completely define my feelings.  Then last night the lid blew off the story.

Last night The New York Times, which is the paper I subscribe to with a copy landing on the front stoop, reported that the whistleblower complaint had something to do with Ukraine.  “Though it is not clear how Ukraine fits into the allegation, questions have already emerged about Mr. Trump’s dealings with its government,” the NYT’s team wrote in today’s front-page story.

To make this story more understandable I am taking the liberty of using a timeline from The Washington Post to show the movement of events for my readers.

Here are some notable events that occurred in the roughly two months before the whistleblower’s complaint on Aug. 12 — and what we’ve since learned about the complaint:

June 11: Trump says he has received another “beautiful” letter from Kim. Trump also responds to news that Kim’s assassinated half brother was a CIA asset by saying he would tell Kim, “I wouldn’t let that happen under my auspices.”

June 14: Trump holds a phone call with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe.

June 18: Trump holds a call with Chinese President Xi Jinping about the ongoing U.S.-China trade war.

June 27-29: Trump attends the Group of 20 summit in Osaka, Japan. There, he holds bilateral meetings with foreign officials including XiAbe, Russian President Vladimir Putin, Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, German Chancellor Angela Merkel, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison and Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro.

June 30: Trump meets with Kim in the demilitarized zone and briefly becomes the first sitting U.S. president to set foot on North Korean soil.

July 1: Trump holds a phone call with French President Emmanuel Macron, which covers topics including Iran, the G-20 and Trump’s meeting with Kim, according to a readout from the White House.

July 4: Trump holds a phone call with Egyptian President Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi.

July 6: Trump holds a call with British Prime Minister Theresa May.

July 8: Trump holds another call with Macron.

July 9: Trump meets with the emir of Qatar, Tamim Bin Hamad Al Thani.

July 11: Trump holds a phone call with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

July 18: Trump meets with Netherlands Prime Minister Mark Rutte.

July 22: Trump meets with Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan.

July 25: Trump holds a phone call with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky.

July 28: Trump announces Director of National Intelligence Daniel Coats will resign in August.

July 31: Trump holds a phone call with Putin. The call is first reported by the Russians. The White House doesn’t confirm it till late that evening, saying Trump “expressed concern over the vast wildfires afflicting Siberia” and, “The leaders also discussed trade between the two countries.” The Russians, in a much more substantial readout, claim Trump and Putin also spoke about restoring full relations one day.

July 31: Trump meets with President Khaltmaagiin Battulga of Mongolia.

Aug. 2: The United States officially withdraws from the Intermediate-range Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty with Russia, as had been previously announced.

Aug. 2: Trump announces a trade deal alongside European Union leaders Stavros Lambrinidis (the E.U. ambassador to the United States) and Jani Raappana (deputy head of mission for the Finnish presidency of the Council of the E.U.).

Aug. 2: Trump holds phone call with British Prime Minister Boris Johnson.

Aug. 8: After Trump’s pick of Rep. John Ratcliffe (R-Tex.) to replace Coats falls through, Trump announces Joseph Maguire would take on the role in an acting capacity. In doing so, he bypassed Sue Gordon, who had been Coats’s No. 2 at DNI and was a career intelligence official with bipartisan support. Gordon would also resign.

Aug. 9: A brief letter from Gordon to Trump is released. It makes her disappointment clear, “I offer this letter as an act of respect & patriotism, not preference,” she writes. “You should have your team.

Aug. 12: Whistleblower files complaint.

Sept. 13: House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam B. Schiff (D-Calif.) subpoenas Maguire to compel him to disclose the whistleblower complaint. Schiff says the complaint was determined to be “credible” by Intelligence Community Inspector General Michael Atkinson, but doesn’t say much more.

Sept. 17: Maguire says he will not testify or hand over the whistleblower complaint. Schiff said Maguire told him he couldn’t “because he is being instructed not to, that this involved a higher authority, someone above.”

Sept. 18: The Post reports the complaint involves Trump’s communications with a foreign leader and some kind of “promise” that was made.

Our nation made a dreadful turn in 2016 when Trump voters placed their personal resentments ahead of logic and love of nation.   We now see what happens when that takes place.

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