No matter how many angry protests that President Donald Trump wants to lodge, the impeachment inquiry is proceeding — and now, the allegations underlying that inquiry seem to have sparked the interest of the FBI. What is clear is that multiple outlets including CNN and NBC have reported that the FBI is seeking to interview a whistleblower whose complaint helped reveal the quid pro quo scheme targeting Ukraine that’s sparked impeachment. At present, it’s unclear what questions the FBI wants to ask the whistleblower, and a source for NBC said the whistleblower hadn’t agreed to be interviewed as of early Wednesday. Nevertheless — the scandal is intensifying.
‘The FBI has asked to interview the CIA whistleblower whose complaint touched off the Ukraine impeachment investigation, a source directly familiar with the matter told NBC News… [S]ome FBI officials were disturbed that the Justice Department declined to investigate the whistleblower’s complaint after a criminal referral was sent over from the inspector general of the Intelligence Community.’
NBC cited Yahoo News for that latter part.
At present, the FBI is technically under the ultimate jurisdiction of prominent Trump shill Attorney General Bill Barr, who’s already made his willingness to break legal standards for Trump abundantly clear. For instance, when Special Counsel Robert Mueller concluded his Russia investigation, Barr initially left the major qualifications that Mueller had added to his conclusions about Trump’s obstruction out of what came out publicly. Mueller noted he declined to prosecute because of Justice Department precedent against indicting sitting presidents — not because of innocence.
The FBI itself is led by Christopher Wray, who is also a Trump appointee but has not gone so far as Barr. For example, after Barr suggested that Trump’s baseless assertion that the Obama team had spied on him might have some credibility, Wray contested that assertion before Congress.
In this case, the possible crimes associated with the Ukraine scheme in question include campaign finance law violations, bribery, and more. NBC notes:
‘Justice Department officials… said they only examined the question of whether a campaign finance crime occurred, and they have never explained why they did not consider questions of bribery, extortion or other possible crimes.’
The Ukraine plot in question included Trump trying to hold already approved military aid and a possibility of a summit in D.C. with his team as leverage to pressure the Ukrainian government to produce dirt on the Bidens. That dirt was to be based on baseless allegations of personal financial concerns corrupting then-Vice President Joe Biden’s pressure on Ukraine to fire a widely believed to be corrupt top prosecutor. The scheme got to the point of Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky preparing to announce a Biden investigation, but then the whistleblower came along.
Although Trump has insisted that their identity should be revealed, the whistleblower’s identity is still officially a secret. Democrats have been focusing on more directly firsthand witnesses when preparing their hearings, although Republicans have demanded the whistleblower testify publicly. Considering the available firsthand testimony, one of the only available new developments from that testimony would be the punitive revelation of the whistleblower’s identity.