As the Democrats tie themselves into increasingly tangled knots over their desire to impeach President Trump, the latest attempt is all going to come down to the credibility — or otherwise — of the intelligence community “whistleblower” who leaked allegations about Trump’s phone call with the president of Ukraine.
But what makes a whistleblower credible?
A couple of things. One is the possession of accurate, first-hand knowledge, which this one inconveniently doesn’t have. The other is political neutrality. If the person who leaks the information doesn’t have an obvious agenda, that makes them more believable. So naturally, Democrats denied that this person had been in contact with anti-Trump politicians before he made his claims. But did he?
- When a “whistleblower” accuses the president of abusing his powers, that’s a serious matter. It’s vital that, in cases like this, the whistleblower’s motives are beyond dispute. The people need to know that their elected head of state’s accuser is reporting genuine concerns, not assisting in a political maneuver.
- House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff (D-CA) probably had that in mind on October 2nd when he spoke to the New York Times. Schiff’s committee has a strong interest in this case because the whistleblower works in the US intelligence community.
- Schiff told the Times that “We have not spoken directly with the whistleblower,” implying that they found out about it along with everyone else when the allegations about Trump’s conversation with Volodymyr Zelensky were leaked.
- President Trump, though, wasn’t convinced. The same day, October 2nd, he said in a press conference that he thought Schiff had probably helped to write the complaint.
- Schiff’s spokesman, Patrick Boland, immediately denied this and said: “At no point did the committee review or receive the complaint in advance.”
- Now it turns out that isn’t true. The Times revealed, again on October 2nd, that Schiff had received an outline of the complaint days before it was officially filed. There’s no evidence that he did actually help write it, but he certainly knew about it — and that put him in a position to help it along.
- It was Schiff who pushed for the complaint to be released to Congress, and he could only do that because he already knew about it. That knowledge let him weaponize it in support of the latest impeachment attempt.
- So was Schiff telling the truth when he said: “We have not spoken directly with the whistleblower?” No, he wasn’t. “We” — his committee — had spoken to him, well before the official complaint was made. That, and the fact the whistleblower had nothing better than hearsay to offer, severely discredits him as a witness. Is that why a second whistleblower has now conveniently been found?
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