Yet another scandal has engulfed the Trump administration in recent days — that of a whistleblower complaint reportedly covering a conversation President Donald Trump had with the Ukrainian president in which Trump pressured the Ukrainians to try and dig up dirt on the Bidens. House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff (D-Calif.) has been at the forefront of trying to get to the bottom of the situation, hosting the intelligence community’s inspector general for private testimony this past week, the acting Director of National Intelligence (DNI) for public testimony this coming week — and in the meantime, appearing this weekend on CNN’s State of the Union with Jake Tapper to denounce the president’s apparent behavior. He even said that impeachment may be the only appropriate course of action if the allegations are true.
Trump and his closest allies have wavered between insisting that there’s nothing to the story and that whatever there is to the story is innocuous. This weekend, Trump personally insisted that his talks with the Ukrainian president were “perfect,” even though he admitted he brought up Biden. Despite this — the Trump administration’s highest levels have directed officials to keep details of the whistleblower complaint from Congress.
‘Clearly, he’s afraid for the public to see… and we’re determined to make sure the public does, that the nation is protected, that if the president of the United States is browbeating a foreign leader at the same time that he was withholding vital military assistance that Ukraine needed to defend itself against Russia and trying to get dirt on his political opponent in a second campaign then the country needs to know about it and we need to take defensive steps.’
Indeed — as Schiff indicated, this isn’t the first time that Trump has been accused of behavior like this. During the 2016 presidential campaign, although they were bumbling enough to escape direct criminal charges of conspiracy, the Trump team benefited from assistance from the Kremlin. Now, they’re doing similar things again with more flagrancy than before and with the power of the presidency at their disposal.
Noting that the “inspector general said we’re talking about abuse, impropriety, and potential violation of law,” Schiff insisted:
‘This would be I think the most profound violation of the presidential oath of office — certainly during this presidency, which says a lot, but perhaps during just about any presidency. There is no privilege that covers corruption. There is no privilege to engage in underhanded discussions.’
House Intel Chair Adam Schiff on President Trump’s call with Ukraine: “This would be, I think, the most profound violation of the presidential oath… There is no privilege that covers corruption.” #CNNSOTU pic.twitter.com/DhGoXbM5KH
— State of the Union (@CNNSotu) September 22, 2019
There’s been no official confirmation about the whistleblower complaint’s contents — both the acting DNI and the relevant inspector general have been directed by higher-ups in the Trump administration to keep details under wraps, despite legal demands for complaints along these lines to be submitted to Congress. Still, there’s been lots of reporting that the Ukraine call issue and the whistleblower complaint issue are one and the same.
It’s one of a large number of scandals that have defined Trump’s time in office so far with the pace of them not seemingly set to abate anytime soon.
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