Last week, the news media stream was full of reports about an alleged intelligence officer blowing the whistle on U.S. president Trump. The complaint contained allegations about Trump’s disturbing conduct in connection with several phone conversations held with a foreign leader.
The Washington Post was the first to carry the whistle-blowing incident, but which to date, still has vague details. As it turned out, the National Intelligence Director to whom the complaint was submitted chose to bring the matter to Trump, instead of bringing it to Congress as required by legal whistle-blowing procedures.
Speculations about the Details of the Whistleblower’s Complaint
The different major news outlets have pieced together bits and pieces of information on events that led to the whistle-blowing complaint filed by the intelligence officer.
On all points of view, the alleged misconduct is in connection with Trump’s widely publicized action of pressuring the newly-elected president of Ukraine to gather evidence aimed at smearing Joe Biden. That is because former vice-president Biden has been leading polls that suggest he will be the Democratic candidate most likely to face Trump in the 2020 presidential elections.
Who is the whistleblower?
Some are looking to either former Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats, who resigned last July 2019, or to Susan Gordon, the former Principal Deputy Director of National Intelligence, who also resigned a month after.
According to The Times, Coats resigned not only because the Trump administration continued to water down his warnings about Russian activities that pose threats to U.S. national security. The former intelligence director’s greater grievance is that the White House altered certain sections in Coats’ dossier about Russia’s interference in the 2018 midterm elections. The purpose of which was to make certain information stated therein, appear less critical.
Susan Gordon, on the other hand, submitted her handwritten resignation to Trump, on August 2019, which read
“I offer this letter as an act of respect and patriotism, not preference. You should have your team,”
Thereafter, Trump replaced the two intelligence officers with known Trump loyalists, including the new intelligence director who did not submit the whistleblower’s complaint to Congress.
What “Promise” Could be Disturbing Enough to Move an Intelligence Officer to Blow the Whistle?
In continuing with the speculations, the question of to whom Trump’s “promise” was made remains a mystery. Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelensky, a former comedian before he was elected president by majority of the Ukrainians, seems a likely candidate. He is known to have tread cautiously to avoid provoking Trump, lest the latter makes good on his threat to suspend the $250 million military aid that Congress appropriated for Ukraine. The financial aid is meant to help the country ward off Russia’s military might.
Zelensky’s first show of cooperation was when it halted any participation or involvement in Special Counsel Mueller’s investigation of Russian interference in the 2016 presidential elections. This denotes that even before Congress approved the $250 million military aid, the Ukrainian president was already in direct communication with the White House
In August, 2019 it was reported that Trump was delaying the release of the Ukraine military aid. After questions about the slow delivery were raised by both Congressional Republicans and Democrats, Trump finally approved the release in mid-September, a week before the news of the intelligence whistleblower’s complaint blew up.
However, the latest Washington Post update said that according to the whistleblower, there was no mention of military aid during the conversation.
Frankly, unless Congress sheds light to this by way of a hearing, no one knows the exact reasons that moved an intelligence officer to finally blow the whistle on Trump.