The whistleblower report concerning the July 25th phone call between President Trump and President Zelensky of Ukraine is now public, and there are some dramatic revelations within it.
The most damaging part of the report is when the whistleblower references a habit of the Trump administration of deliberately trying to bury a word-for-word transcript of the call in question.
It is important to remember that the public was only allowed to see an abbreviated version of the transcript, as the report itself conceded.
In the new report, the whistleblower said, “According to multiple White House officials I spoke with, the transcript of the President’s call with President Zelensky was placed into a computer system managed directly by the National Security Council (NSC) Directorate of Intelligence Programs” for the purpose of securing the contents from the public.
Furthermore, the whistleblower revealed that this attempt to deep-six the complete transcript was not unusual in the Trump administration, and that they used the front of national security to hide the contents of phone calls that were believed to be politically damaging. In the report, the whistleblower says the attempt to hide the contents of the call was “solely for the purpose of protecting politically sensitive—rather than national security sensitive—information.”
The second damning revelation from the report is that Trump allegedly held up the prospect of a phone call with him as a reward for investigating the family of Joe Biden, Trump’s leading 2020 challenger.
“During this same time frame, multiple U.S. officials told me that the Ukrainian leadership was led to believe that a meeting between the President and President Zelensky would depend on whether Zelensky showed willingness to ‘play ball’ on the issues that had been publicly aired by (former Ukraine Prosecutor General Yuri (Lutsenko) and (Trump’s personal lawyer Rudolph W.) Giuliani,” the new report alleges.
While this might not be the attempt to hold military aid over the head of Ukraine as Democrats originally anticipated, this arrangement still stinks of the quid pro quo that was originally alleged.
Here is the bottom line— the report may not have exposed what Democrats originally told us it would. That being said, it still raised significant questions regarding transparency and potential power abuse in the Trump administration.
One cannot help but notice similarities to the Watergate scandal of Nixon, as the attempt to cover up wrongdoing may also be worse than the wrongdoing itself. Both Nixon and Trump used underhanded means to their own electoral gain. Nixon was involved in the DNC break-in, and Trump allegedly dangled the prospect of a phone call for a foreign power’s investigation into his political opponent. Both used further underhanded tactics to subvert public knowledge of those tactics.
Trump’s reaction to the report has been predictably dramatic. Maggie Haberman of the New York Times has a bombshell report detailing Trump’s rage. Her report says that he told staff that he wants to know exactly who gave the information to the whistle-blower, and continued on a rant, saying that whoever did this was “close to a spy” and that “in the old days,” spies were dealt with differently.