WTF Community

Day 973

1/ The whistleblower complaint by an intelligence officer was triggered by a "promise" Trump made to a foreign leader and involves a series of actions that goes beyond any single discussion. The formal complaint was filed with Intelligence Community Inspector General Michael Atkinson, who "determined that this complaint is both credible and urgent." The acting director of national intelligence, Joseph Maguire, however, has refused to turn it over to Congress. While it's unclear to whom Trump was speaking at the time, White House records show Trump spoke to or interacted with Putin, Kim Jong Un, Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan, Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte, and the Emir of Qatar in the five weeks prior to the complaint being filed on August 12th. Trump, meanwhile, denied that he made any "promise" to a foreign leader, calling the formal complaint "Presidential Harassment!" and rhetorically asking if there is "anybody dumb enough to believe that [he] would say something inappropriate with a foreign leader." (Washington Post / New York Times / CNN / ABC News / NBC News /

This is a companion discussion topic for the original entry at

Just breaking…


A federal judge has ordered a temporary injunction against the California law requiring presidential candidates to release their tax returns to secure a spot on the state’s presidential primary ballot – a law aimed at President Donald Trump, who has not released his tax returns.

In a ruling Thursday, US District Court Judge Morrison England, Jr., said that California cannot force candidates to disclose their tax returns as outlined in a new state law. England said he would make his final ruling on the law before October 1.

Even as the temporary injunction will likely face appeals from state officials, the decision marks a clear victory for Trump who sued California last month to challenge the state law. The Trump administration has resisted various large-scale efforts to obtain the President’s tax returns, a battle that has largely played out in courts.

BTW, a couple days ago, @Windthin made this comment about Trump tossing out California’s emission standards. It fits like a glove in this situation as well:

"So much for the vaunted state’s rights the GOP loves to claim it defends."


So now we know for sure that it is Trump who is blocking the release of this information to Congress – in other words, obstructing an investigation into himself, aka “obstruction of justice.” How many times is Trump going to commit the crime of obstruction of justice before he is finally held accountable?

The White House and the Justice Department have advised the nation’s top intelligence agency that a controversial complaint involving President Donald Trump isn’t governed by laws covering intelligence whistleblowers, according to three sources familiar with the matter.

The revelation is the first known evidence of the White House’s involvement in the standoff between Congress and the intelligence agency. Speaking to reporters on Thursday, House Intelligence Chairman Adam Schiff said he didn’t know whether the White House was involved. …



This story has legs…

If you’re riveted to this scandal like I am, you’ll want to read this piece. It provides additional background, plus some insight into the closed door hearing today.

Most importantly, if the communication centered around Ukraine then it’s really looking like the world leader in question could be the President of the Ukraine, but it could still be Putin. Yes, this is speculation, but the field is narrowing. We shall see…

One reason I think this is a really, really big deal is that there seem to be a significant number of sources willing to risk their careers (and perhaps even risk going to jail) to spill the beans on this story. They must feel it is as urgent as the original whistleblower did and the IG as well. Of course, this is just speculation and I have to keep bringing my expectations down a notch. We’ve been burned before so it’s good to take all of this with a big grain of salt. :salt:

A whistleblower complaint about President Trump made by an intelligence official centers on Ukraine, according to two people familiar with the matter, which has set off a struggle between Congress and the executive branch.

The complaint involved communications with a foreign leader and a “promise” that Trump made, which was so alarming that a U.S. intelligence official who had worked at the White House went to the inspector general of the intelligence community, two former U.S. officials said.

Two and a half weeks before the complaint was filed, Trump spoke with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, a comedian and political newcomer who was elected in a landslide in May.

That call is already under investigation by House Democrats who are examining whether Trump and his attorney Rudolph W. Giuliani sought to manipulate the Ukrainian government into helping Trump’s reelection campaign. Lawmakers have demanded a full transcript and a list of participants on the call.

On Thursday, the inspector general testified behind closed doors to members of the House Intelligence Committee about the whistleblower’s complaint.

Over the course of three hours, Michael Atkinson repeatedly declined to discuss with members the content of the complaint, saying he was not authorized to do so.

Atkinson made clear that he disagreed with a lawyer for the Office of the Director of National Intelligence, who had contradicted the inspector general and found that the whistleblower complaint did not meet the statutory definition of an urgent concern because it involved a matter not under the DNI’s jurisdiction.

Atkinson told lawmakers that he disagreed with that analysis — meaning he felt the matter was under the DNI’s purview — and also that it was urgent “in the common understanding of the word,” the person said.


More details about the Ukrainian ‘situation,’ which it looks like the Foreign Affairs, Intelligence, Judicial Committees were already investigating…

The fact that the whistleblower’s supposed report has to do with this very issue, means it has been top of mind for many Congressional members. Confounding.

Ukraine’s new president Volodymyr Zelensky was fulsome in expressing his gratitude to Donald Trump for the military aid package.

The former professional comedian insisted his relationship with the former reality TV star was “very good” and that he was “sure we will have a meeting in the White House”.

But the $250m (£280m) of arms for Ukrainian forces, which are confronting Russian backed separatists, has been enmeshed in a bitter battle between the US president and his opponents over accusations that he has tried to manipulate it for underhand political reasons.

The Trump administration had in fact suspended the “Ukraine Security Assistance Initiative”, only agreeing to unblock it after rising bipartisan clamour from congress.

The ostensible reason for the hold-up was to ensure that it tallied with US interests.

The real reason, claim critics, was to pressure the Ukrainian government to target Joe Biden – the possible Democrat candidate for next year’s election – through an investigation into corruption allegations against his son.

Members of the Trump administration have claimed that Mr Biden, then Barack Obama’s vice president, had pressured the Ukrainian authorities to drop an investigation into Burisma, an energy company operating in the country, on which his son Hunter was a board member.

The claims against Mr Biden have been denied to a number of news organisations, including The Independent , by Ukrainian and western European officials.

Three Democrat-controlled house committees – Foreign Affairs, Intelligence and Government Reform – have announced that they would investigate whether a host of ethical and legal rules have been violated.

But the president stressed he was delighted with the decision to release the package, and also with reports that the State Department was putting together a separate aid package worth $140m.

“Now we can say we have very good relations with the US because now we will get not only $250m but [an additional] $140m. When you are waiting for $250m have the possibility to get $390m, I like this sort of relationship,” said Mr Zelensky, adding that he hoped to meet the US president soon.

But there have been claims that Mr Trump had refused to meet Mr Zelensky after his election this year, and that US officials have warned this would continue to be the case unless the Ukrainian authorities reopened the Burisma files.

The house committees’ chairs say they will scrutinise a telephone call between the US president and Mr Zelensky on 25 July, during which Mr Trump allegedly told the Ukrainian president to reopen the Biden investigation if he wanted to improve relations with the US.

They claim that Kurt Volker, the US special representative for Ukraine, was told to intercede with President Zelensky by the White House, and they are looking into the activities of Rudy Giuliani, Mr Trump’s personal lawyer.

Alot of coverage on this for the week of Sept 8th

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Trump Lawyers Argue He Cannot Be Criminally Investigated

Trump’s legal team is trying to block a subpoena seeking his tax returns, claiming that ANY criminal investigation of Trump is unconstitutional.


Bluster and throw lawsuits is a great T attribute…or “if I say so, it is so…” (my words)

From NYT article Day 973

“President Trump’s position that he is unequivocally beyond the reach of criminal investigators is doubtfully absolutist,” said Joshua Matz, who wrote, with Laurence H. Tribe, “To End a Presidency: The Power of Impeachment.”


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Bingo. The GOP loves to crow about state’s rights when they can use those rights to take rights from people they don’t like, but come down like a hammer when it’s states standing up to them and their backers.



And here’s Rudy Guiliani’s muddled response to Chris Cuomo’s CNN question on whether any of Guiliani’s inquiries had anything to do with Joe Biden…initial answer is ‘no’ and then it comes out…well, yes as it relates to the broader question.

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I hope it does have legs. I am beyond sick of listening to this idiot who obviously is just a complete moron, possibly with dementia. I enjoyed the article, but it seems everything is eventually cast off as “nothing to see”. This could be different though in that it’s very “mole” like and moles often tell of true happenings. If he’s crazy, stop him. If he’s a criminal, looking to get elected in any way possible, then we need to stop him. If he’s both, which he probably is, we’re screwed unless someone steps up and kicks his ass out of office.

I was 16 when Watergate got legs, when the news was dispersed just two times daily - morning print and evening TV. I remember it didn’t take very long before the tide turned on Nixon, but that was way back when and Republicans still had a soul.