- August 12, 2019. An employee within the intelligence community, detailed to the White House, filed a whistleblower complaint. This person witnessed or became aware of an act that was so egregious that s/he felt compelled to file a formal complaint, risking his/her career.
- The press reported that the complaint involved a phone call between Trump and a foreign leader. The conversation involved a “promise.”
- Ned Price, interviewed on MSNBC, remarked that even though Trump has been careless about divulging classified information in the past (for example, to the Russians in the Oval office) this instance seemed to him not likely to be a matter of carelessness, but “closer to betrayal.”
- Various commentators noted that the whistleblower could only have had access to a phone call or the transcript of a phone call if s/he was highly placed. They noted that there were not very many people in the circle of people who would have had access to this information.
- The Trump administration had limited the number of people who had access to the transcripts of phone calls with foreign leaders because of embarrassing information that leaked about such conversations in the past (such as the conversation with the Australian PM).
- In line with the Whistleblower Protection Act, the complaint was filed with the Inspector General (IG) of the intelligence services.
- The IG considered the complaint to be “credible and urgent” and therefore passed it along to the Director of National Intelligence as he is required by law to do.
- The IG deemed the complaint to be credible and determined that it should be passed along to Congress.
- Whistleblower complaints are routinely passed to Congress even those not deemed to be credible by the IG.
- The Director of National Intelligence, Dan McGuire refused to comply with a Tuesday (September 18, 2019) deadline and pass the complaint on to the Congress.
- In a statement issued on September 20, 2019 Nancy Pelosi wrote: “We will continue to follow the facts and explore every possible option…” Right, and that’s all they will do.
Relevant Time Line.
- July 25, 2019. Trump as conversation with President of Ukraine (Volodymyr Zelensky). He later (9/20/19) characterized the call as “beautiful.”
- After the call, the Ukrainian president’s office gave a readout that said that the two talked about “investigations into corruption cases that have hampered interaction between Ukraine and the U.S.A.” (ABC News)
- July 29, 2019. Trump announces that Director of National Intelligence, Dan Coats will resign in August. (WP)
- July 31, 2019. A phone call was initiated by the White House to Putin. The White House put out information that the call had involved a discussion about assistance with Siberian wildfires. According to Ned Price, interviewed by MSNBC, the Kremlin released information that the discussion had been about the reestablishment of bilateral relations between Russia and the U.S. This phone call was two weeks before the whistleblower complaint.
- August 2, 2019. US withdraws from the Intermediate Range Nuclear Forces Treaty with Russia.
- August 8, 2019. Trump announces Joseph Maguire would take the role of DNI as acting. He bypassed Sue Gordon who had been Coat’s second in command. Gordon would resign.
- August 12, 2019. Whistleblower files complaint.
- September 9, 2019 Letter from DNI IG, Michael Atkinson to House Intelligence Committee. The letter noted that the complaint rose to a level of “urgent concern” and “appeared credible” enough to warrant congressional notification. (ABC News)
- September 13, 2019. Shiff subpoenas Maguire to compel him to disclose the whistleblower complaint.
- September 17, 2019. Maguire says he will not testify or hand over the complaint. Shiff says that Maguire told him he couldn’t “because he is being instructed not to, that this involved a higher authority, someone above.”
- September 19, 2019. Atkinson is scheduled to brief members of the House Intelligence Committee in closed-door session.
- September 20, 2019 Lindsay Graham threatens the whistleblower saying that he will go to prison.
- September 20,2019. Trump denies knowing the identity of the whistleblower, but says that the person is a “partisan.” He adds that this means that it’s a person from “the other party.” He calls the controversy “just another political hack job.” He suggests that somebody should look into Biden. A quote from a White House briefing: “It doesn’t matter what I discuss, but I will say this: Somebody ought to look into Joe Biden’s statement, because it was disgraceful where he talked about billions of dollars that he’s not giving to a certain country unless a certain prosecutor is taken off the case,” Trump asserted. “So somebody ought to look into that. And you wouldn’t, because he’s a Democrat. And the fake news doesn’t look into things like that. It’s a disgrace.” ABC News
- The whistleblower now has an attorney.
And, lest we forget, this week…
- NBC News reported that William Barr “strongly endorsed” a 2017 book accusing colleges and universities of unfairly punishing male students accused of rape.
- Jamie Raskin appeared on Chris Hayes to talk about Trump passing information to a foreign leader and the fact that the Justice Department was preventing whistleblower information from being passed to Congress as is specified in the law. When introduced, Raskin sat staring into the camera with a big grin on his face. Is there not one person in public life who takes their job seriously? Raskin also insulted our intelligence by claiming that the Democrats were doing their jobs and holding Trump accountable.