The unidentified whistleblower wrote on Aug. 12: “I have received information from multiple U.S. officials that the President of the United States is using the power of his office to solicit interference from a foreign country in the 2020 U.S. election”— i .e., “pressuring a foreign country to investigate one of the President’s main domestic political rivals (Joe Biden).”
Moreover, “the President’s personal lawyer (and consigliere), Rudolph W. Giuliani, (was) a central figure in this effort.” In addition, Trump’s administration consigliere, Attorney General Barr, was also involved.
Think about that!
While the primary concern was the president’s phone call to the Ukrainian president, the whistleblower (a CIA officer who had been detailed) harbored concerns about Trump’s actions: “The White House officials who told me this information were deeply disturbed by what had transpired in the phone call. They told me there was already a ‘discussion ongoing’ with lawyers about how to treat the call because of the likelihood … that they had witnessed the President abuse his office for personal gain.”
The alarm was so great that White House officials sought to limit access to the written record of the call:
“In the days following … I learned that senior White House officials had intervened to ‘lock down’ all records of the phone call, especially the word-for-word transcript of the call that was produced by the White House Situation Room.”
Moreover, he or she was told that instructions had been given “to remove the electronic transcript from the computer system in which such transcripts are typically stored.”
Speaker Pelosi now has the “smoking gun” for the impeachment inquiry.
The House Judiciary and Intelligence committees — or a select committee — can proceed to investigate; and they need not refer the impeachment articles to the whole House for a vote, so that “swing district” Democrats can avoid (for now) a final vote on an abuse-of-power charge.
Do not underestimate how many representatives will see a huge moral/constitutional problem at stake; as well as the more obvious impeachable offenses of “high crimes and misdemeanors” spelled out in the Mueller report under “obstruction of justice.”