28 September 2019 — Moon of Alabama
The recent impeachment inquiry against President Donald Trump is the second attempt by the CIA and the Democratic establishment to sabotage Trump’s presidency. The first attempt was the ‘Russiagate’ conspiracy theory which falsely claimed that Trump colluded with the Russian government to win the election. It took more than two years to defeat it. It had the intended side effect that it disabled Trump from making peace with Russia.
The second is likewise run by the CIA and the Democratic establishment. The CIA created an artificial issue that the Democrats used to justify the launch of an impeachment process against Trump. The impeachment attempt has little chance to dethrone Trump. But the affair will again hamstring any attempts for better relations with Russia. The operation is also designed to further prevent Trump digging into the background of Russiagate and the people behind it.
The second attempt is a simpler construct than Russiagate. A CIA operative who was temporarily delegated to the White House constructed a ‘whistleblower complaint’ that is completely based on hearsay and public sources. It is also about issues that are outside of the CIA’s immediate business.
Until very recently the intelligence community complaint form required that any claimant had first hand knowledge of the complaint issue. The form was changed in August (more here) but uploaded only on September 24 to also allow for hearsay to be the basis of a complaint. This reinforces the impression that the complaint is part of a larger intelligence operations. Who initiated the change?
The whistleblower statute says that the matter in question must be an “urgent concern” that is defined as:
… 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
At the core of the complaint in question is a claim that Trump used a phone call with President Volodymyr Zelensky of the Ukraine to press Zelensky to investigate two issues. The call memorandum was declassified and published.
During the phone call Zelensky had two requests. He wanted U.S. anti-tank weapons and he wanted an invitation to the White House. (He got both.) Trump also had a request. He asked that Ukrainian authorities investigate two issues of U.S. public interest. The first is the reported interferences by Ukrainian government officials in favor of Hillary Clinton during the 2016 election campaign. This also involved the notorious security company CrowdStrike which made some false claims about Russian hacking in the Ukraine. The second one is the also well-know intervention by then Vice-President Joe Biden against a Ukrainian Attorney General who had an open investigation against a company that was sponsoring his son Hunter Biden.
The U.S.and the Ukraine have a treaty that requires them to cooperate on law enforcement matters. That Trump wanted the Ukrainian authorities to investigated these issues was well known. His personal lawyer Rudi Giuliani had said for several months that he was looking into these questions.
The issues pointed out in the complaint are clearly beyond the scope of the whistleblower statute. Trump’s actions with regard to the Ukraine, especially the phone call, were neither outside of any law nor do they involve any intelligence activity. What Trump did during the call was not nefarious. The issue is clearly a question of “differences in opinion concerning public policy matters”.
A whistleblower complaint must be send to the relevant agency’s inspector general. If he finds it credible it goes to the head of the agency who decides if it is within the statute and, if it is, sends the complaint to Congress. The agency’s inspector general Michael Atkinson found the complaint ‘credible’ but, after seeking legal advice, the acting director of national intelligence Joseph Maguire did not forward it to Congress. It was the right thing to do as the content of the complaint is neither ‘whistleblowing’ nor within the relevant statute.
What happened next is curious:
The agency’s inspector general, Michael Atkinson, notified Congress that the complaint existed but says he and Maguire have reached an “impasse” over whether to turn it over.
I have found no legal analysis if this was a required move or outside of the usual process. After that step was taken details of the complaint leaked to the press as they were supposed to do.
The Democrats immediately raised a public ruckus and demanded to see the complaint and call transcript and to have them declassified. They likely hoped that Trump would fight them over this. But Trump immediately obliged. He had nothing to fear. A diligent reading of the phone call memo and the complaint shows that there is nothing illegal or otherwise condemnable in his behavior towards the Ukraine. One may not like what he does as president but that does not make it illegal.
Despite the lack of any sound basis the Democrats announced an impeachment inquiry even as it has little public support and will drown out any positive momentum for policy issues the Democratic primary candidates want to promote. The impeachment inquiry will run right along the lines laid out in the complaint.
The complaint and the Democrats claim that Trump held back loans from the Ukraine to press Zelensky on the issue. Zelensky denies he even knew that the loans were withheld and said that it was a non-issue.
The Hill @thehill –
Sen. Chris Murphy: “In my meeting…Zelensky did not make any connection between the aid that had been cut off & the requests that he was getting from Giuliani but the Ukrainian govt certainly thru multiple channels was expressing their confusion about who they should listen to.”
Sen. Chris Murphy (D-Conn.) has himself intervened with Zelensky:
While choosing his words carefully, Murphy made clear — by his own account — that Ukraine currently enjoyed bipartisan support for its U.S. aid but that could be jeopardized if the new president acquiesced to requests by President Trump’s lawyer Rudy Giuliani to investigate past corruption allegations involving Americans, including former Vice President Joe Biden’s family.
The Democrats say that it is unfair that Trump is asking the Ukraine to investigate Joe Biden who currently leads in the Democrats’ primary. They claim that he wants the material only to smear Biden.
But there is no need to smear Biden. He himself proudly told the story (vid) of how he blackmailed the Ukrainian government. It is also widely known that his son Hunter had an affair with his sister-in-law while his brother was fighting cancer, spent extravagantly on drugs and prostitutes according to his former wife and was dishonorably discharged from the Navy Reserve for cocaine use.
Three weeks after Joe Biden had helped to overthrow the Ukrainian government his not so honorable son Hunter Biden was invited to take a $50,000 per month board seat of Burisma, a Ukrainian gas producer whose owner, Mykola Zlochevsky, was under investigation for corruption and tax evasion. Hunter Biden did not know anything about the Ukraine or natural gas. The company had only one reason to hire him and that was his father.
A few months later Joe Biden withheld a $1 billion loan guarantee to get the Ukrainian prosecutor general who was running the corruption investigation against Burisma fired. Biden claimed that he wanted the prosecutor general to go because he was corrupt and that the case against Burisma was already closed. But several recently revealed papers show that those claims are false. More dirt about Biden’s actions in Ukraine is just coming out.
By opening the impeachment inquiry the Democrats, not Trump, highlight Biden’s corruption and throw him under the bus. That maybe a welcome side effect for the Democratic establishment which prefers that the second incarnation of Hillary Clinton, Senator Elizabeth Warren, wins the primaries.
There is other dirt that the Democrats may fear.
During the 2016 election campaign Alexandra Chalupa, a Ukrainian-American who worked for the Democratic National Committee had contacts with the Ukrainian embassy. She asked for digging up dirt on Trump’s campaign manager Paul Manafort who had worked in the Ukraine. Soon a mysterious ledger was found by an anonymous person in the burned out headquarter of an Ukrainian party which allegedly showed that Manafort had received large amounts of black money. The ledger was an obvious favor by the Ukrainians for the Clinton campaign. Trump had to fire Manafort who was later sentenced for tax evasion and other unrelated crimes. Trump wants to pardon Manafort and needs some public reason to do so. If the Ukrainians find that the ledger was faked at the request of the DNC the issue might well fall back on the Democrats.
But what is the intent of the CIA in organizing the clearly abnormal whistleblower complaint?
Here we have to look at the second request Trump made to Zelensky. He wants to know more about Russiagate. During that operation, which was directed by Obama’s spy chief John Brennan, the ‘former’ MI6 agent Christopher Steele created a fake dossier of alleged collusion between Trump and the Kremlin. The dossier was used to justify FBI spying on the Trump campaign. It is quite possible that some of Steele’s ‘Russian’ sources were actually from the Ukraine.
There are also a number of loose ends from the 2014 coup in Ukraine which the CIA will not like to have disclosed. Zelensky had promised to restart the investigation into the Maidan massacre. The CIA would surely like to prevent any disclosure of its heavy involvement in that affair.
Good relations with Trump would have helped Zelensky to achieve his aims. It would have hindered better CIA control over Zelensky. The disclosure and ruckus about the phone call will make it more difficult for Trump and Zelensky to cooperate. That part of the plan worked.
But there is also already a casualty on the side of the plotters against Trump.
The new Ukrainian president was looking for ways to make peace with Russia and had hoped that Trump would help him. The hawks had installed Kurt Volker as U.S. Special Representative for Ukraine to prevent any such moves. Volker, a former U.S. ambassador to NATO, had been hired by then Secretary of State Rex Tillerson but had demanded no pay. Volker is the hawkish head of the McCain Institute which received donations from George Soros’ Open Society. He is also a partner in a public relation company that was hired by then President of Ukraine Poroshenko.
The whistleblower complaint says that Volker visited Zelensky on July 26, one day after his call with Trump, to “provide advice to the Ukrainian leadership about how to ‘navigate’ the demands that the President had made of Mr. Zelenskyy.”
Volker was the ‘borg’ member sent to Ukraine to exercise control over the Ukrainian government. He clearly tried to sabotage Trump’s efforts to push Zelensky to investigate the Ukrainian side of the Russiagate and Biden affairs. Volker also wanted to prevent better relations with Russia.
Yesterday Volker suddenly left his job. Why? Was he one of those who fed the whistleblower with content for his complaint? That Volker leaves now, before being fired by Trump for sabotaging his requests to and relations with Zelensky, is likely an unintended consequence of the whistleblower operation.
If Trump is as smart as he thinks he will install a new special representative to the Ukraine who does his bidding.
How about Rudi Giuliani?