The whistleblower scandal

News reports suggest that Donald Trump made a deal with the president of Ukraine Volodymyr Zelenskiy, that in exchange for his help in getting damaging information about Joe Biden and his son Hunter son who is doing business in that country, Trump would give something as yet unspecified in return.

This deal was sufficiently alarming to someone in the intelligence community who knew about this exchange that he alerted the inspector general who is required by law to report this to Congress. While Congress was informed that a complaint had been made, the Trump administration is stonewalling on its specifics.

The timeline is this: Atkinson, the inspector general, received the complaint Aug. 12, reviewed it and found it credible and urgent, and forwarded it two weeks later to Joseph Maguire, acting director of national intelligence. Maguire’s office decided the complaint was outside the agency’s jurisdiction and not urgent, and informed Congress Sept. 9 of the situation without showing it the complaint. Atkinson said that was a break from normal procedure, which is to disclose the contents to lawmakers.

Seth Meyers discusses what we know about it. His insinuation that the foreign leader that Donald Trump made a promise to is Vladimir Putin is contradicted by more recent reports that it was Zelenskiy.


  1. blf says

    News reports suggest that Donald Trump made a deal…

    (Emphasis mine.)
    Eh? I not seen ANY report hair furor or his “lawyer”, Rudy Giuliani, made a deal — only that the current best guess is the whistleblower’s complaint is they(?) tried to make deal, and apparently used various threats of withholding various sorts of US assistance. For example, from Trump pressured Ukrainian president to investigate Biden’s son (Grauniad edits in {curly braces}):

    Observers in Ukraine said there were no signs yet that an agreement had been struck between Trump and Zelensky.

    Serhii Leshchenko, an investigative journalist and former MP who advised Zelensky on foreign policy during the campaign, said: “There is nothing it could be besides this Biden stuff. It’s clear what they were talking about.”

    He cited a Ukrainian readout of the 25 July phone call between the two leaders: “Donald Trump is convinced that the new Ukrainian government will be able to quickly improve image of Ukraine, complete investigation of corruption cases, which inhibited the interaction between Ukraine and the USA.”

    Leschenko said Trump allies including Giuliani had sought meetings with Zelensky since before his May inauguration, and accused Giuliani of “attempting to interfere in Ukrainian internal politics and blackmail Ukraine”.

    “{Zelensky} doesn’t want to be involved in this fight between two political parties in the US,” Leschenko said. “He doesn’t want to become a hostage of this situation.”


    None of this suggests the reports hair furor and Giuliani (at least) did threaten Ukraine and try to force them to “investigate” — read: invent — claims about the Bidens are false. As far as I am currently aware, those reports are informed and very plausible. However, at the moment, as far as I know, it seems Ukraine and its President did not accede to the demands and threats. (I have no idea if they hold hair furor and Giuliani to “feck off” or not.)

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