Ethics & Public Policy Center

The Whistleblower Complaint Doesn’t Do Democrats Any Favors

Published in The Washington Post on September 26, 2019


The whistleblower’s complaint that launched the current impeachment controversy has now been released. It offers little new information not already in the public domain. Furthermore, if it continues to be relied upon as evidence justifying impeachment, Democrats will have to make some hard choices about how to proceed.

The complaint is broken into four parts. The first describes the July 25 phone call between President Trump and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky. The second alleges that White House officials improperly placed records of the call in an “electronic system that is otherwise used to store and handle classified information of an especially sensitive nature.” The third recounts a series of “ongoing concerns” that relate to meetings between Trump’s lawyer Rudolph W. Giuliani and Zelensky aides and other meetings involving U.S. and Ukrainian diplomats to discuss how to proceed or “navigate” the president’s requests. The fourth recounts a series of news stories and tweets regarding the president’s actions and thoughts regarding Ukraine.

Aside from the second allegation, there is nothing new we have learned from the complaint. A rough transcript of the July 25 phone call was released Wednesday for all to read. The information in the third section is either standard operating procedure in this White House (Trump’s unpredictability regularly leads foreign governments to seek guidance from administration officials on how to proceed) or reflects what we already know, that Giuliani plays an unusual and disturbing role in this matter. The fourth is simply recitation of matter already in the public domain.

Click here to read the rest of this piece at the Washington Post’s website.

Henry Olsen is a senior fellow at the Ethics and Public Policy Center.

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