Day 980: Whistleblower: there’s a full-blown conspiracy in the White House covering up Trump’s corruption
From from being just about Ukraine, Trump’s conduct is far more widespread.
A partially redacted portion of the whistleblower complaint made against Donald Trump was released Thursday.
It was incredibly damning in that it alleged a conspiracy undertaken by many, many people at the White House to cover up Trump’s corruption.
There was the portion that largely came out in the summary of the July 25 phone call between Trump and Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelensky.
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.
That allegation is corroborated by Trump’s words to Zelensky where he specifically asked him to “do us a favor.” Trump later told Zelensky to coordinate with Giuliani and Barr abut “look[ing] into” the Biden family.
The whistleblower was unambiguous about the stakes.
I am also concerned that these actions pose risks to U.S. national security and undermine the U.S. Government’s efforts to deter and counter foreign interference in U.S. elections.
And then the whistleblower revealed just how deep the corruption and cover-up go.
- In the days following the phone call, I learned from multiple U.S. officials that senior White House officials had intervened to “lock down” all records of the phone call, especially the official word-for-word transcript of the call that was produced-as is customary-by the White House Situation Room. This set of actions underscored to me that White House officials understood the gravity of what had transpired in the call.
- White House officials told me that they were “directed” by White House lawyers to remove the electronic transcript from the computer system in which such transcripts are typically stored for coordination, finalization, and distribution to Cabinet-level officials.
- Instead, the transcript was loaded into a separate electronic system that is otherwise used to store and handle classified 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.
To call this stunning would be an understatement. Multiple aides and staffers, many of them high-level personnel in the administration were roped into a scheme to hide Trump’s nefarious call. Taking a call transcript from its typical location and moving it to a system that “handle[s] classified information” shows that White House lawyers knew how damaging and illegal the call’s contents were. There was no sensitive information of national importance in the transcript, as could be readily seen when the summary was released on Wednesday. So the transcript was moved to protect Trump personally.
Staggeringly, it does not appear that moving the files was a one-time incident. Rather, it’s a pattern used to hide multiple instances of wrongdoing by Trump.
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.
Every single person involved in the direction or movement of files has been roped into this conspiracy. Every single person involved engaged in activity to help Trump cover up crimes. Every single person involved would be best suited to retain personal counsel immediately. Every single person involved is subject to a congressional subpoena as a witness for a potential impeachment inquiry. Every single person involved may need to invoke their Fifth Amendment right to remain silent. Every single person involved will fail in making the “I just did as I was told” defense.
The whistleblower details additional actions undertaken by the Trump administration and Giuliani to coordinate with Ukraine. According to the report, Giuliani traveled to Spain for a meeting in what U.S. officials characterized as a “direct follow-up” to the July 25th call.
As the whistleblower noted, in the middle of all of these actions and phone calls, Trump admitted to be willing to accept foreign interference to assist him in 2020.
On 13 June, the President told ABC’ s George Stephanopoulos that he would accept damaging information on his political rivals from a foreign government.
The report is every bit as damaging as many expected, but in many ways it’s far worse. It reveals a widespread conspiracy in the White House to protect Trump from personal liability at the expense of American democracy. It is not unrealistic to think dozens of aides are implicated in the scheme and face potential criminal exposure.
Trump, for his part, accused the whistleblower and those around him or her of being a spy. Trump then not-so-subtly threatened their lives.
Trump and many Republicans are pretending that the real outrage should be directed toward leakers and whistleblowers. They are upset not about Trump’s actions, but about him being caught. They are willfully ignoring heinous, undemocratic and corrupt conduct by Trump, Barr, Giuliani, White House lawyers, aides and more to try and salvage political face.
980 days in, 482 to go
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