White House Folds, Will Hand Whistle-Blower Complaint Over To Congress: Report

Clearly, Donald Trump has come to terms with the fact that the Ukraine scandal could be his undoing, although we’re a long way away from what, as of right now anyway, is still a far-fetched scenario where he would be forced from office.

Having failed to pacify irate House Democrats by promising to release a transcript of his phone call with Ukraine’s Volodymyr Zelensky, Trump has authorized the release of the whistle-blower complaint at the very heart of the controversy.

Politico broke the news on Tuesday evening, noting that “the move shows the level of seriousness with which the administration is now approaching the House‘s new impeachment proceedings”.

Watch Nancy Pelosi’s impeachment inquiry announcement

Politico emphasized that “the decision and timing could change over the next few days”, but wrote that as of Tuesday night, the White House “was planning to give the information to lawmakers” even as “the format of presentation, or process of viewing the documents, remained up in the air”. Trump has approved the move, apparently.

In a Monday letter, Eliot Engel, Adam Schiff and Elijah Cummings gave Mike Pompeo until Thursday to let them know whether he plans on complying with lawmakers’ requests for documents around the president’s July call with Zelensky. The original document request was made earlier this month, prior to the Washington Post’s bombshell reporting which revealed that a whistle-blower complaint tied to the call involved a “promise“.

The complaint was sent to acting director of national intelligence Joseph Maguire by the inspector general for the intelligence community Michael Atkinson late last month, starting the clock on a seven-day deadline for the DNI to transmit the information to Congress. Maguire turned to the Justice Department for help, and Atkinson informed lawmakers about the situation.

Atkinson has since spoken to Congress and Pelosi warned Maguire on Tuesday evening that he’s breaking the law.

Between the stonewalling, revelations about the call with Zelensky (including allegations that Trump pressured his Ukrainian counterpart at least eight times to investigate Joe and Hunter Biden) and Trump’s own public remarks, Pelosi pulled the trigger on a formal impeachment inquiry, sending the president into what certainly sounds like a panic.

“Such an important day at the United Nations, so much work and so much success, and the Democrats purposely had to ruin and demean it with more breaking news Witch Hunt garbage”, Trump fumed on Tuesday afternoon.

He went on to explain that Pompeo has “received permission from Ukraine Government to release the transcript of the telephone call”. Ukraine, Trump swears, doesn’t “know either what the big deal is”.

He then called the whole thing “a total Witch Hunt Scam!”

As noted earlier, the problem for Trump in releasing just the transcript is that the whistle-blower complaint is said to be based on a pattern of behavior, not just the July call with Zelensky.

That means that until Congress gets the full complaint, this issue isn’t going to go away for the president.

“We applaud the decision to release the whistle-blower complaint as it establishes that, ultimately, the lawful whistleblower disclosure process can work. We await the release of the complaint in its totality”, the whistle-blower’s lawyers said in a statement.

“The release of the call transcript, which is squarely in the administration’s control, will likely come out first”, Politico notes, adding that “the administration could use the sequencing of the release of information to its advantage by setting out the best possible story line for Trump early on, just as it did with the release of the Mueller report”.

Congress will also likely hear from the whistle-blower in person. “We have been informed by the whistle-blower’s counsel that their client would like to speak to our committee and has requested guidance from the Acting DNI as to how to do so”, Adam Schiff said Tuesday.

Later, Schiff said he requested the whistle-blower appear for a voluntary meeting with the panel on Thursday afternoon. That would be immediately following the public testimony of Joseph Maguire.

Stay tuned. As Trump would say, “the ratings will be tremendous”.


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