Up until reading this very biased article in the Boston Globe, I had not read the “whistleblower” complaint nor the “transcript” of the call between Presidents Trump and Zelensky. But this article was so one-sided that I went back to the source materials and read them (links are below). This is my interpretation of the two pieces of evidence and why the article today is very biased and intentionally misleading.
President Trump had a good conversation with President Zelensky. He was congratulating him on his win, and the two agreed that corruption needed to be rooted out in Ukraine. They discussed the possible corruption of the Bidens and the possible interference of Ukrainians in the 2016 election. They discussed a possible meeting in Washington DC and/or Poland. It was a nice call and there was absolutely no so-called “quid pro quo.” Trump did ask that Ukraine look into corruption and as part of this, the Bidens and election interference. No pressure was applied on the call.
The account of the whistleblower as written in his complaint goes far beyond the call itself. It talks about Rudy Giuliani, the US Ambassador to Ukraine, nameless officials who were concerned about the call because it suggested some type of investigation by Ukraine into the role of the Bidens, and quite a lot of information about how President Trump was conducting his foreign policy.
No question, the whistleblower was alarmed. But the only issue related to impeachment is the attempt to pressure Ukraine into investigating Joe and Hunter Biden. Suggesting that corruption be investigated is not, in itself, wrong. And the whistleblower’s other issues are political and thus under the jurisdiction of the President–not Congress, not the whistleblower, and not foreign service officers or political appointees.
The Bidens are a problem for one reason only, and that is that Joe Biden is a candidate for the Democratic nomination for President. President Trump could be said to benefit if a major contender is tarnished with a corruption investigation during the campaign. For that reason, it was ill-advised for President Trump to ask for Zelensky’s help. All other requests for investigations, including working with AG Barr who is looking into the 2016 election, are totally legit.
There was another Globe story this week about an “analyst” who was very upset at the pullback from Syria. He wrote a memo, circulated it widely, and it was then leaked to the press (what a surprise.) The analyst didn’t think Trump’s Syrian strategy was correct, and that it was unlikely (!) that Turkey would invade Syria and overrun US forces. The analyst seemingly wanted Trump to keep the troops in place and dare Turkey to take action. This isn’t his call to make, so his memo is irrelevant. He is entitled to his opinion but it doesn’t carry any weight. That our foreign diplomats and their staff could disagree with the President is fine, but the President is the policy maker, not the bureaucracy. (See “Envoy slams US action in Syria,” Friday, November 8, page A4, https://edition.pagesuite.com/popovers/dynamic_article_popover.aspx?artguid=81edb931-1b25-47e9-ae6b-7ade246b9421&appid=1165)
The whistleblower complaint reads similarly to me. The whistleblower did not like the politicization of policy, he didn’t like that ambassadors were being undermined by the shadow diplomacy of Rudy Giuliani, he didn’t like that Trump’s call was being held securely so it wouldn’t leak like some of his previous private conversations with other world leaders had, he didn’t like that Ambassadors were being undermined. Much of the complaint appears to be political in nature. This is one reason why the motivations of the whistleblower have been questioned, but ultimately, it is good public policy to encourage dissenters to speak out if they feel strongly. And if the Democrats believe that Trump’s intent in withholding aid to Ukraine was motivated for political reasons and not other reasons, then they are free to pursue impeachment for it. But as that process unfolds, President Trump should be able to have his attorneys question the whistleblower to find out his motivations, and his job should be protected from retaliation. (This notion that his life is in danger is pretty absurd, but if that is credible, assign him a police officer for protection until the inquiry is over.)
So when Trump says “read the transcript,” he is pointing out that the phone call had no “quid pro quo” and there was no pressure on Zelensky whatsoever. (Zelensky said as much when he traveled to the UN recently.) Trump seems to be asserting that asking for the Bidens to be investigated was about corruption, not the 2020 election. If Democrats don’t believe that, then go ahead and impeach. But that doesn’t make Trump’s statements false or make him a liar, as this article strongly suggests.
The Boston Globe, through this article, is making the political case that President Trump is trying to fool the public by telling people to read the transcript. The transcript does not show any crimes committed. While asking for a Biden investigation might be an error in judgment, it is a political error, not a crime.
The actual article reads like something written by Adam Schiff. It is extremely pejorative and biased, much more so than usual. It accuses President Trump of “gaslighting,” which is a term implying a grand conspiracy and making people think they are crazy or something. Very inappropriate reference, to say the least. And on top of that, this article is filled with claims of “falsehoods” (in the article’s subhead, no less), a “false claim [Trump] has made more than 100 times” (does the Washington Post count this as one lie or 100 lies?), “specious arguments,” “false narratives,” “losing…credibility,” “false assertion,” “mislead the public,” and, the cherry on the sundae, “creating doubt about the fundamental nature of truth.”
Usually, when the Boston Globe prints this type of character assassination, it does so under a “News Analysis” tag. Not this time. This is just another news story to the Globe…very fake news story.
The transcript can be read here: https://www.whitehouse.gov/wp-content/uploads/2019/09/Unclassified09.2019.pdf
The Whistleblower complaint from the NYT: https://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2019/09/26/us/politics/whistle-blower-complaint.html
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