Whistleblower Week Roundup

In case you missed it — Chris Hayes did a great standup routine on Trump’s Ukraine, um, problem.

Greg Sargent wrote that the batch of State Department texts released by House Democrats provided three significant revelations:

First, the texts show that State Department officials, taking direction from the White House, explicitly conditioned a meeting with Trump — which Zelensky badly wanted — on Ukraine helping to rig the next U.S. election on Trump’s behalf, by carrying out the investigations Trump wanted. …

…Second, and importantly, the texts also show that Ukraine understood that the fate of its country’s relations with the United States rested on whether it carried out Trump’s political marching orders to interfere in a U.S. election and investigate Trump’s political opponent. …

…Third, the texts set up a clear line for further inquiry that will likely produce even more damning revelations. They strongly suggest that Trump made hundreds of millions of dollars in military aid to Ukraine directly contingent on that country doing his political bidding.

See Greg Sargent’s column for details.

News stories report that a second whistleblower with direct knowledge of Trump’s interactions with Ukraine has come forward.

Josh Marshall writes about State Department officials coming forward to testify.

Secretary Pompeo threatened a dogged fight against any attempt to depose State Department officials or get documents for the House inquiry. Volker, Yovanovitch, Sondland and others could have used that shield Pompeo threw up around them to refuse or at least delay or negotiate over testifying. That was clearly the intention. But they haven’t. Volker resigned his appointment and quickly testified. Now Sondland, much more of a Trump partisan and apparently much more of a driving force in the extortion scheme, is doing the same.

Yovanovitch, of course, is Marie Yovanovitch, the ambassador to Ukraine who was dismissed by Trump because she wouldn’t go along with his extortion scheme. Yovanovitch will testify to three House committees this Friday, October 11. Gordon D. Sondland is a Trump supporter who became Trump’s ambassador to the European Union, and he was on the “team” of Trump officials, along with Special Envoy for Ukraine Kurt Volker, who were pressuring Ukraine President Zelensky to investigate the Bidens.  It seems some people have decided they aren’t going down with the ship.

See also Mounting evidence buttresses claims in whistleblower complaint and Donald Trump’s Ukraine Scandal Has Its Roots in Russia.

Elsewhere — this got little attention, but it pissed me off mightily — CNN reported Trump promised Xi US silence on Hong Kong democracy protests as trade talks stalled.

During a private phone call in June, President Donald Trump promised Chinese President Xi Jinping that the US would remain quiet on pro-democracy protests in Hong Kong while trade talks continued, two sources familiar with the call tell CNN.

The remarkable pledge to the Chinese leader is a dramatic departure from decades of US support for human rights in China and shows just how eager Trump is to strike a deal with Beijing as the trade war weighs on the US economy.

This is cowardly and shameful, is what it is. See also A scathing new Pentagon report blames Trump for the return of ISIS in Syria and Iraq. Trump is absolutely worthless.

For a fun read, see Mitch McConnell: The Man Who Sold America by Bob Moser at Rolling Stone. Sounds like Mitch is in big trouble.