‘I do not know the extent to which, if at all, Mr. Giuliani is directly coordinating his efforts on Ukraine with Attorney General Barr or Durham…’
(Ben Sellers, Liberty Headlines) The public release of a complaint filed by an anonymous whistleblower shed light on some of the intrigue surrounding Ukrainian political operations with the United States but failed to implicate President Donald Trump in any specific wrongdoing.
House Democrats used the whistleblower claims as the basis for launching impeachment hearings this week, and now reportedly have enough votes to pass articles against the president, even while lacking direct evidence or specific crimes to charge him with.
The complaint—submitted by a deep-state bureaucrat with second-hand information and possible partisan motives—directly contradicted, in at least one instance, the transcript of a phone call released by the White House yesterday, raising questions about the accuracy of other accounts from the whistleblower.
The central allegation raised in the Aug. 12 complaint, addressed to the chairs of the House and Senate intelligence committees, was that Trump was “using the power of his office to solicit interference from a foreign country in the 2020 U.S. election.”
The whistleblower charged that the president, in his July phone call with Ukrainian leader Volodymyr Zelenskiy, was “pressuring a foreign country to investigate one of the President’s main domestic political rivals,” i.e. former Vice President Joe Biden, then the front-runner in the Democratic primary race to contest Trump in next year’s election.
The complaint also suggested that the Trump administration—much as his rivals have done repeatedly—was blurring the lines between his personal interests and public duties by involving both his personal lawyer, Rudy Giuliani, and Attorney General William Barr in efforts to support Ukraine’s investigations into Biden, as well as probing alleged collusion with the Democratic National Committee to interfere in the 2016 election.
Distorting the Record
A central figure in the corrupt dealings is the country’s former prosecutor general, Yuriy Lutsenko, a political appointee of the prior Ukrainian administration with a background of alleged criminal activity spanning his career in Kiev.
In a 2018 panel discussion hosted by the Council on Foreign Relations, Biden acknowledged that he had helped get Lutsenko’s predecessor removed by exerting financial pressure on then-President Petro Poroshenko in the form of a billion-dollar loan guarantee.
While that prosecutor, Viktor Shokin, had been investigating the Ukrainian energy company that had Biden’s son on its payroll, he boasted that Poroshenko had “put in place someone who was solid.”
But the hearsay whistleblower complaint paints a different picture, suggesting that Trump was, in fact, seeking to bolster the corrupt prosecutor.
“The President also praised Ukraine’s Prosecutor General, Mr. Yuriy Lutsenko, and suggested that Mr. Zelenskyy might want to keep him in his position,” it falsely claimed.
Rather, the published transcript appeared to show the opposite: that Trump was encouraging Zelenskiy to replace Lutsenko.
The Ukrainian president assured Trump that he would.
“Since we have won the absolute majority in our Parliament, the next prosecutor general will be 100% my person, my candidate, who will be approved, by the parliament and will start as a new prosecutor in September,” Zelenskiy said on the phone call, according to the released transcript.
Facing his own political pressures after the controversial assassination of an anti-corruption activist in November 2018 and the landslide election of Zelenskiy to replace Poroshenko, Lutsenko seems to have flipped allegiances.
According to the whistleblower complaint, in March 2019 Lutsenko began making public allegations about the Bidens and the Ukrainian role in the 2016 U.S. election.
These drew the attention of Trump.
“On 25 April in an interview with Fox News, the President called Mr. Lutsenko’s claims ‘big’ and ‘incredible’ and stated that the Attorney General ‘would want to see this,'” the whistleblower report noted.
However, Lutsenko for whatever reason swiftly “walked back” those charges in an April interview with Bloomberg, where he denied investigating the Bidens and said there was “no evidence” of wrongdoing on their part.
The Bloomberg interview has been widely cited by left-wing journalists to deny the double-standard in Biden’s acknowledged abuse of power and the allegations against Trump.
As Breitbart observed in its analysis, “the whistleblower goes beyond reporting alleged misconduct and proceeds to build a case against the president’s conduct of foreign relations with Ukraine.”
This suggests that even if the report’s account were factually accurate and credible, a close examination of the whistleblower’s motives may be necessary.
Much as the Mueller investigation was criticized for relying on potentially partisan dispatches, creating a sort of circular justification between the press and investigative agencies that used selective leaks to bolster their work, the whistleblower complaint relied on mainstream media reports rather than firsthand knowledge.
The media narratives largely ignored or excused the evidence of Democrats’ impropriety which Trump sought to uncover in the first place.
By omitting the context, it was able to spin valid concern about the underlying corruption on the Left into Trump appearing to solicit nothing more than campaign opposition research.
Wow. The full Ukraine call transcript shows @realDonaldTrump asking Ukraine’s President for a “favor,” helping investigate 2016 election interference. CNN cut the clip making it look like the “favor” was about investigating Biden.
— Mark Meadows (@RepMarkMeadows) September 25, 2019
Public vs. Private Interest
Several Democrats, including Rep. Adam Schiff, have used the involvement of the Justice Department in the Ukrainian investigations to suggest impropriety and illegal activity.
However, given Barr’s ongoing investigation into the sources of the Russia hoax orchestrated by Democrats, it was entirely fitting that he coordinate his own investigation with that of Ukrainian officials.
In a footnote buried within the complaint, the whistleblower makes reference to Barr’s investigation, which is being led by special prosecutor John Durham within the DOJ.
“Mr. Giuliani claimed that Mr. John Durham, whom Attorney General Barr designated to lead this probe, was ‘spending a lot of time in Europe’ because he was ‘investigating Ukraine,'” noted the whistleblower. “I do not know the extent to which, if at all, Mr. Giuliani is directly coordinating his efforts on Ukraine with Attorney General Barr or Durham.”
Despite admitting to a lack of knowledge about the investigations being led by Barr and Giuliani, the complaint makes central to its allegations the suggestion that both were being dispatched for Trump’s personal needs since “the President referred [to them] multiple times in tandem.”
Whatever Giuliani’s role in the matter—be it official or unofficial—Barr clearly was seeking to investigate a major conspiracy initiated and orchestrated by corrupt U.S. government actors who just so happened to be political adversaries of the president.
Crucial to any further inquiries being led by Congress, the Justice Department or other investigative authorities will be knowing resolutely whether a) Trump was justified in calling on Zelenskiy to investigate Biden and the DNC for their misconduct; and b) who is the whistleblower and what underlying partisan motives might be involved.
It seems unlikely that House Democrats will seek to pursue the answers to these in their kangaroo impeachment investigation.
Already, Schiff, who has claimed the whistleblower would publicly come forward to testify and that the person was “very credible” sought to move the goal posts during a hearing with acting Director of National Intelligence Joseph Maguire.
In an opening speech that extolled the “rights” of whistleblowers, Schiff hinted at a new push by the Left to keep anonymous the individual, now being represented by a pair of attorneys with close ties to Democratic politicians like Hillary Clinton.
In response, Rep. Devin Nunes, R-Calif., the intelligence committee’s ranking minority member, criticized what appeared to be an effort to politicize the whistleblower process, much as Democratic operatives exploited the formerly nonpartisan FBI in its prior impeachment attempt with the Mueller investigation.
“What we have with this storyline is another Steele Dossier,” Nunes said. “Everything they touch gets hopelessly politicized.”