Devine: Whistleblower a ghost in the impeachment room
The ghost in the coldest room on Capitol Hill on Day One of the Democrats’ impeachment hearing was their so-called whistleblower. The one person who should have kicked off the case against Donald Trump was nowhere to be seen.
But the truth is that the anonymous complainant who triggered this latest gambit to overturn the 2016 election is not really a whistleblower, as we understand the word, a heroic figure with first-hand documented knowledge of wrongdoing who divulges that information to the proper authorities as a public service and usually at personal cost.
The word does not cover a partisan hack up to his neck in the Biden family’s shonky business dealings in Ukraine.
It does not cover a Democratic loyalist, who worked for Obama national security adviser Susan Rice and Trump-hating CIA director John Brennan.
It does not cover a CIA operative whose principal duty in the Obama administration was to assist Vice President Joe Biden, then the US special envoy for Ukraine.
It does not cover a registered Democrat who is believed to have facilitated five phone calls for Biden in four days to former Ukranian President Petro Poroshenko.
It does not cover a person who filed an “urgent” report alleging President Trump had demanded a “quid pro quo” in a July 25 phone call with new Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, but who never heard the call.
It does not cover a complainant described by the Intelligence Community Inspector General, who handled the complaint, as having “some indicia of an arguable political bias … in favor of a rival political candidate.”
It does not cover a partisan who worked with Democratic National Committee contractor Alexandra Chalupa — described yesterday by House Intelligence Committee Republican ranking member Devin Nunes yesterday as someone who “worked with Ukrainian officials to collect dirt on the Trump campaign, which she provided to the DNC and the Hillary Clinton campaign.”
It does not cover someone “acknowledged to have a bias against President Trump, [whose] attorney touted a ‘coup’ against the President and called for his impeachment just weeks after his election,” as Nunes described the so-called whistleblower.
It does not cover a person who colluded with staff of House Intelligence Committee Chairman and chief Trump-hunter Adam Schiff to tip them off on his complaint before he filed it.
No, because the person who fits that description is a player, just another Trump denouncer in a town full of them. If not for the shield of anonymity and the hifalutin title of “whistleblower,” his hearsay complaint would have been stillborn.
As it is, in the absence of a fair and transparent process, Schiff’s fake whistleblower is the most protected person in Washington, DC.
He will not be called to testify at the hearings he triggered which will decide whether or not to remove a President.
His credibility and demeanor will not be tested, even behind closed doors.
As far as Schiff is concerned, the whistleblower has become He Who Must Not Be Named, even though everyone in Washington knows who he is, and his name has been ricocheting around social media for weeks.
Yesterday Schiff claimed laughably that he didn’t know who the whistleblower was.
In his excoriating opening address yesterday, Nunes asked a reasonable question: “What is the full extent of the Democrats’ prior coordination with the Whistleblower and who else did the Whistleblower coordinate this effort with …
“Republicans cannot get a full account of these contacts because the Democrats broke their promise to have the whistleblower testify to this committee.
“Democrat members [Schiff] hid these contacts from Republicans and lied about them to the American people on national television.”
That would be the same Schiff who tried to obtain naked photos of Trump last year from Russian pranksters who pretended to be Ukrainian officials.
Yesterday, in the absence of a real whistleblower, we had to content ourselves with two urbane diplomats, men who clearly pride themselves on their unimpeachable integrity, but have been dragged down into this sordid scheme.
William Taylor, acting ambassador to Ukraine, and George Kent, State Department Ukraine expert, denounced as Never Trumpers on twitter by the President, tried to maintain a non-partisan demeanor as they described second-hand conversations including a staffer eavesdropping on phone calls in restaurants.
But there was something missing in their description of “alarm” at the withholding of US military aid to Ukraine.
For all their concern about Ukraine’s ability to defend itself against Russia, they were remarkably sanguine about the Obama administration’s inaction after Russia annexed Crimea and began aggressing into eastern Ukraine.
Ukrainian president Petro Poroshenko went to Washington and begged for military assistance but the Obama-Biden administration refused, out of deference to Moscow.
Poroshenko complained at the time: “one cannot win a war with blankets.”
This was surely the low point of Ukrainian-US relations, not Trump’s phone call in July.
Despite the witnesses’ dissatisfaction with President Trump’s Ukraine policy, it was President Trump who approved the supply of weapons to Ukraine.
So if concern for Ukraine is not the real motivation behind the diplomatic community’s alarm about Trump, all that’s left is protecting the Bidens.
Without a real whistleblower we can only think the worst.
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