And the other shoe hath fallen.
Earlier this week, Byron York of the Washington Examiner broke the story that the “indicia of an arguable political bias … in favor of a rival political candidate” that Intelligence Community Inspector General Michael Atkinson described in his report about the Ukrainian whistleblower involved a professional relationship with a candidate for the 2020 Democrat presidential nomination, although he declined to name either the candidate or the nature of the professional relationship.
As I wrote when I learned this news, it would obviously make a bigger difference if that individual was involved with, say Joe Biden than it would have if it were Tulsi Gabbard. It would also make a huge difference if that professional relationship was as a senior staffer for a major candidate or whether they were an intern cleaning the crystal balls Marianne Williamson uses to identify dark psychic forces or whatever.
We now know more and I’m the bearer of interesting (if not surprising) news: It wasn’t Tulsi Gabbard and new age ephemera wasn’t involved.
On Thursday evening, the Washington Examiner reported that the candidate involved “is Joe Biden, according to intelligence officers and former White House officials.”
Not only is the connection to Joe Biden, the report says, but “[a]s an experienced CIA official on the [National Security Council] with the deep knowledge of Ukraine that he demonstrated in his complaint, it is probable that the whistleblower briefed Biden and likely that he accompanied him on Air Force Two during at least one of the six visits the 2020 candidate made to the country.”
“From everything we know about the whistleblower and his work in the executive branch then, there is absolutely no doubt he would have been working with Biden when he was vice president,” a retired CIA officer told the Examiner.
An anonymous former Trump administration official said, “Biden’s work on foreign affairs brought him into close proximity with the whistleblower either at the CIA or when he was detailed to the White House.”
“This person, after working with Biden, may feel defensive towards him because he feels [Biden] is being falsely attacked. Maybe he is even talking to Biden’s staff,” the former administration member said. “Maybe it is innocent, maybe not.”
The question is whether or not this professional link would have influenced, in any way, the decision to blow the whistle on the president.
Lawyers for the whistleblower said that their client had held “apolitical, civil servant positions in the Executive Branch.”
Andrew Bakaj and Mark Zaid said that “in these positions our client has come into contact with presidential candidates from both parties in their roles as elected officials—not as candidates.”
4/Third, in these positions our client has come into contact with presidential candidates from both parties in their roles as elected officials—not as candidates.
— Mark S. Zaid (@MarkSZaidEsq) October 9, 2019
The president, meanwhile, has tweeted that “The Whistleblower’s facts have been so incorrect about my ‘no pressure’ conversation with the Ukrainian President, and now the conflict of interest and involvement with a Democrat Candidate, that he or she should be exposed and questioned properly.”
The Whistleblower’s facts have been so incorrect about my “no pressure” conversation with the Ukrainian President, and now the conflict of interest and involvement with a Democrat Candidate, that he or she should be exposed and questioned properly. This is no Whistleblower…..
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) October 9, 2019
The optics of this aren’t great, particularly given the fact Biden would much prefer the media focus on Trump and Ukraine as opposed to him and Ukraine.
As long as things are focused on Trump and the whistleblower report, you couldn’t imagine a sunnier creature than Joe Biden. He’s directly called for the president’s impeachment, saying that Trump is “shooting holes in the Constitution and we cannot let him get away with it.”
Mention any uncomfortable facts involving him and Ukraine — like, say, the fact that he got a prosecutor who was investigating a company where his son sat on the board fired, at the very least a conflict of interest — and he’s a lot less loquacious.
Now, if this report is accurate, Biden not only knew the whistleblower, not only worked closely with him, but also traveled to Ukraine with him. This is going to raise a lot of questions for the candidate, and none of them are good. That sound you hear is his campaign imploding.
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