Well this is going to undermine Trump’s “perfect phone call” defense.
Courtesy of NBC News:
Weeks before the whistleblower’s complaint became public, the CIA’s top lawyer made what she considered to be a criminal referral to the Justice Department about the whistleblower’s allegations that President Donald Trump abused his office in pressuring the Ukrainian president, U.S. officials familiar with the matter tell NBC News.
The move by the CIA’s general counsel, Trump appointee Courtney Simmons Elwood, meant she and other senior officials had concluded a potential crime had been committed, raising more questions about why the Justice Department later declined to open an investigation.
The phone call that Elwood considered to be a criminal referral is in addition to the referral later received as a letter from the Inspector General for the Intelligence Community regarding the whistleblower complaint.
Justice Department officials said they were unclear whether Elwood was making a criminal referral and followed up with her later to seek clarification but she remained vague.
If that was not damning enough, it turns out that there is a second whistleblower.
Courtesy of NYT:
A second intelligence official who was alarmed by President Trump’s dealings with Ukraine is weighing whether to file his own formal whistle-blower complaint and testify to Congress, according to two people briefed on the matter.
The official has more direct information about the events than the first whistle-blower, whose complaint that Mr. Trump was using his power to get Ukraine to investigate his political rivals touched off an impeachment inquiry. The second official is among those interviewed by the intelligence community inspector general to corroborate the allegations of the original whistle-blower, one of the people said.
The inspector general, Michael Atkinson, briefed lawmakers privately on Friday about how he substantiated the whistle-blower’s account. It was not clear whether he told lawmakers that the second official was considering filing a complaint.
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A new complaint, particularly from someone closer to the events, would potentially add further credibility to the account of the first whistle-blower, a C.I.A. officer who was detailed to the National Security Council at one point.
Of course this does not necessarily prove that Trump was holding up military aid until the new president of the Ukraine did him a couple of favors.
But this does.
Courtesy of Time:
A Republican senator said Friday he learned from a U.S. ambassador that President Donald Trump was tying military aid for Ukraine to an investigation of the 2016 election. But when the senator asked Trump if he could assure the Ukraine leadership the money would be coming, the president blocked him from carrying that message.
Sen. Ron Johnson of Wisconsin, a leader of the Senate’s Ukraine caucus, made several trips to the Eastern European ally this year after the election of President Volodymyr Zelensky. He told the Wall Street Journal that Gordon Sondland, the U.S. Ambassador to the European Union, told him the Ukraine aid, which is part of the country’s defenses against Russia, was being linked to Trump’s desire to have Zelensky’s team investigate the 2016 U.S. elections.
Separately, Johnson told reporters in Sheboygan, Wis., that Trump had blocked his suggestion that he carry a message to Ukraine’s president assuring him that U.S. military aid was on the way. “I was surprised by the president’s reaction and realized we had a sales job to do,” Johnson told reporters.
The senator’s remarks fill in more details about events at the heart of the Democrats’ impeachment inquiry.
At this point I am not even sure if all of this evidence needs to be put forward since it seems Donald Trump is admitting to crimes almost as fast as journalists can jot them down.