This Thursday, the House Intelligence Committee is hearing publicly from acting Director of National Intelligence Joseph Maguire, who’s a central figure in the response to a scandal that’s emerged thanks to a whistleblower report chronicling concerns about President Donald Trump’s communications with Ukrainian authorities. In that report, the so far not publicly identified whistleblower describes presidential lawyer Rudy Giuliani as a central figure in Trump’s effort to get Ukraine to try and dig up dirt on the Bidens, and this Thursday, Maguire confirmed to Congress that he’s unaware of any security clearance that Giuliani has. No matter the lack — Giuliani has been freely engaging with sensitive diplomatic operations anyway.
Maguire told panel member Rep. Mike Quigley (D-Ill.):
‘I don’t know whether or not Mr. Giuliani has a security clearance.’
Separately he added:
‘In order to be able to handle sensitive information, whether it be diplomatic or intelligence, one must be vetted.’
There’s no particular apparent public reason to believe that Giuliani was ever “vetted” in any capacity. He has financial ties to an array of foreign powers, having worked as a consultant in his time outside government — and of course, he’s technically still outside government, but you get the idea.
Despite these issues, Giuliani has not just been an accessory but a main player in Trump’s revealed scheme to get Ukrainian authorities to try and dig up dirt on the Bidens that the Trump campaign could no doubt turn around and use in their 2020 efforts. During a one-on-one conversation with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, Trump explicitly suggested that Ukrainian authorities get in touch with Giuliani (and Attorney General Bill Barr) to get their investigation into the Bidens going.
As the explicitly not word-for-word but close summary of Trump’s call put it, he said:
‘I will have Mr. Giuliani give you a call and I am also going to have Attorney General Barr call and we will get to the bottom of it. I’m sure you will figure it out.’
Following the call on which Trump reportedly pointed to Giuliani — who, just to be clear, is a conspiracy theory-laden private citizen — the lawyer met with an adviser of the Ukrainian president in Madrid. In other words, this was a multifaceted scheme by the president of the United States to pressure a foreign government to again help boost his chances in an election. To call this flagrant disregard for basic legal precedent unprecedented would be an understatement.
As the unnamed whistleblower put it in their complaint:
‘In the course of my official duties, I have received information from multiple U.S. Government officials that the President of the United States is using the power of his office to solicit interference from a foreign country in the 2020 election.’
These revelations have opened the floodgates, so to speak, and this week, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) announced that she and her fellow House Democrats were launching a formal impeachment inquiry against Trump, under which already proceeding investigations into Trump’s behavior would be able to keep going and amplify.
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