The amazing Trump-Ukraine-Whistleblower story in a nutshell

Summary: Here is a brief and well-written summary by James Howard Kunstler of the latest attempt to overthrow the 2016 election, apparently led (like previous rounds) by a member of the intelligence community. Like the previous attempts, digging reveals numerous oddities in the official story – mostly ignored by the major news media (news not fit for you to know). Also, see the amazing supporting information that follows Kunstler’s essay.

Propaganda vs truth choice - choice of paths
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A Dumpster Fire on a Garbage Barge

James Howard Kunstler at his website, 27 September 2019
Reposted with his generous permission.

UkraineGate, son of RussiaGate, raises an interesting question: is our Central Intelligence Agency really this crude that they would loan out a CIA officer to the White House’s National Security Council (NSC) and use him as a weapon to shiv the occupant of the oval office? Or was The New York Times’s unmasking of the “whistleblower” just another ruse by the Deep State Disinfo Division?

Let’s face it, there were not so many CIA spooks working in that White House office, so it shouldn’t be too hard to figure out who it was. A leading candidate is veteran CIA officer Michael Barry, an assassination expert, as it happens, who was loaned out during Mike Pompeo’s brief stint as CIA chief. Barry acted as the NSC’s chief intelligence officer. Barry or otherwise, I predict the whistleblower’s identity will be known for sure in pretty short order.

So much material in this tale doesn’t add up that it looks like the results of a math test in a Baltimore middle school. For one thing, the now-public whistleblower complaint makes it clear that the whistleblower’s information is second-hand. The Intel Community Whistleblower Protection Act (ICWPA) explicitly prohibits complaints based on second-hand news: “In order to find an urgent concern credible, the IGIC [Intel Community Inspector General] must be in possession of reliable, first-hand information. The IGIC cannot transmit information via the ICWPA based on an employee’s second-knowledge of wrongdoing. This includes information received from another person, such as when a fellow employee informs you that he/she has witnessed some type of wrongdoing.” See for yourself in the ICWPA Form 401. {Full form here.}

Excerpt from instructions for ICWPA form 401

Did Director of National Intelligence Joseph McGuire know that when he testified that the whistleblower’s complaint was “credible” and made in “good faith.” Did ICIG Michael Horowitz know that when he sent the whistleblower complaint to Admiral McGuire? Did House Intel Committee Chair Adam Schiff know that when he led a grandstanding exercise in his committee on Thursday?

Others have pointed out that the whistleblower’s complaint was composed as a legal brief, leading to the inference that it was constructed by lawyers and perhaps a team of lawyers. The whistleblower’s lawyer is Andrew Bakaj, a former CIA employee who got his start interning for Senator Chuck Schumer and then Hillary Clinton. The Washingtonian said Bakaj “actually wrote the CIA’s internal rules on whistleblowing.” Is that so? Did he write Form 401 then? His client’s complaint states: “I was not a direct witness to most of the events described. However, I found my colleagues’ accounts of these events to be credible because, in almost all cases, multiple officials recounted fact patterns that were consistent with one another.” In other words, second-hand information. Dismissed.

Everyone and his uncle remembers the infamous threat issued to Mr. Trump by Senator Schumer during the transition period, on 3 January 2017: “Let me tell you: You take on the intelligence community – they have six ways from Sunday at getting back at you,”

Perhaps Senator Schumer should have kept his pie-hole shut on that. He made it official that the Intel Community would act as an adversary and antagonist to the President, and that appears to be exactly what has happened. One suspects that this rogue agency has captured The New York TimesThe Washington Post, National Public Radio, and several TV cable news networks as well. And now they are metamorphosing into an enemy of the people.

The moment approaches when Mr. Trump will have to carry out a severe housecleaning of the CIA and perhaps many other agencies under the executive branch of the government. Their ongoing campaign to undo the 2016 election is igniting a civil war. Clearly a part of the whistleblower gambit was an attempt to discredit Attorney General William Barr and set up a device that would force him to recuse himself from any further inquiry into shenanigans carried out in and around Ukraine since 2014, when the CIA and the Obama State Department overthrew the government of Viktor Yanukovych. Mr. Barr is a sturdy fellow. He may have seven ways from Sunday for countering their seditious monkeyshines. Wait for it.

In the meantime, is there any question that UkraineGate has put the schnitz on Joe Biden’s political career. The notorious video of Mr. Biden bragging on his shakedown of then-president Poroshenko has been seen by everybody over age five in the USA.

Hillary must be lovin’ it as she makes the rounds on her latest listening tour. Listen to this, Hillary, lost in your wicked daydreams of riding to the Democratic Party’s rescue for yet another shot at the White House: your reputation will never survive the blizzard of indictments coming down on your partisans. And one of these bills might have your name on it.

————————- End of the article. ————————

If you didn’t see Biden’s boasting …

By Erielle Davidson at The Federalist. If you prefer, see the transcript or watch the video. I will bet that this destroys his campaign. No surprise, since Elizabeth Warren is the designated candidate (Hillary 2.0).

“Joe Biden was so proud of his role in the prosecutor’s removal from investigating the company paying his son $50,000 per month merely to serve on its board that he actually bragged about it in a 2018 speech at an event for the publication Foreign Affairs. In this speech, Biden boasts his threat to withhold $1 billion in U.S. loans from Ukraine if they did not agree to fire the prosecutor who happened to be investigating the company giving his son a cushy sinecure. The prosecutor was fired, and the investigation was dropped six months later.”

An op-ed in The Hill by John Solomon contradict’s Biden’s convenient (for him) claims: “These once-secret memos cast doubt on Joe Biden’s Ukraine story.

The story gets even stranger

After Kunstler posted his analysis, several people discovered that the Whistleblower form 410 had been revised either shortly before or after the whistleblower reported about Trump’s call to Ukraine. Conveniently, the requirement for first-hand knowledge was eliminated. For details, see this article at The Federalist. They also show that several of the statements in the whistleblower’s cover letter are false.
Revised ICWPA form 401

When asked about this astounding coincidence …

“Reached by phone on Friday afternoon, a Director of National Intelligence official refused to comment on any questions about the secret revision to the whistleblower form, including when it was revised to eliminate the requirement of first-hand knowledge and for what reason.”

Move on. Nothing suspicious here. You have been told what to think.

Update from the Office of the IG.

A letter from the Office of the IG provided more information. The whistleblower claimed first-hand knowledge, although none was mentioned in his or her letter to Congress (claims were either hearsay or from public media). Also, the forms and procedures were changed as a result of this incident – so that first-hand information is no longer needed.

Update – there is a blackout in the news media about this.

This is the first of thousands of tweets about this. Fox is the only news media I see to have mentioned it. While not clearly exculpatory, it provides a legal basis for Trump’s requests to Ukraine’s President.

Editor’s afterword

(1)  See the whistleblower’s letter to Congress describing his claims. Also, see the “unredacted transcript” released by the White House of Trump’s telephone conversation on 25 July 2019 with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy. As noted in the document, the call was neither recorded or transcribed. The document gives a reconstruction from notes and memories of the staff who listened to the call.

(2)  Update: The Zelenskyy-Trump conversation seems quite cordial, with no mention of the vital funds being withheld. The NYT’s Kenneth Vogel explains. This refutes allegations that Trump in effect offered a quid pro quo.

(3)  Update: about Trump “hiding” the telephone call transcript on a secure server.

From The Federalist. Also, see the video of Rice’s statement. Keeping confidential conversations with other heads of State is just good sense.

“Former national security adviser Susan Rice acknowledged last night that the Obama administration moved transcripts of conversations with foreign leaders onto the same top-secret server where the Trump administration stored his recent phone call with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky.”

(4)  Journalists hyperventilating about this story seldom mention the Office of Legal Counsel (who has jurisdiction) ruling on the whistleblower’s filing. See the full copy here.

“A complaint from an intelligence-community employee about statements made by the President during a telephone call with a foreign leader does not involve an “urgent concern,” as defined in 50 U.S.C. § 3033(k)(5)(G), because the alleged conduct does not relate to ‘the funding, administration, or operation of an intelligence activity’ under the authority of the Director of National Intelligence. As a result, the statute does not require the Director to transmit the complaint to the congressional intelligence committees.”

(5)  This is another example of a seldom-mentioned theme in the attempts to get Trump: spooks at every key step. Do not see this!

(6)  Elizabeth Warren is, imo, the designated Democratic nominee to run against Trump. It is another fortuitous coincidence that this story draws attention to the Biden’s, the front-runner, impossible to justify actions supporting his son’s corrupt deal with Ukraine.

(7)  This episode is more evidence that America’s law enforcement and intelligence agencies have been highly politicized. Any new president is a fool that does not purge their senior ranks of anyone with possible links to the opposition.

(8)  I disagree with Kunstler about the likely ending of this story. Being in the Deep State means never having to say you’re sorry. Accountability is for the little people.

(9)  See Jim Geraghty’s brief recap of the Democrat’s attempts to impeach Trump. Many never accepted the 2016 election, and on Inauguration Day began efforts to remove him. During the 2018 election, few Dems talked about impeachment (it polled poorly). Journalists said that GOP claims that the Dems would impeach Trump were baseless. Dems beat the drums hard before release of the Mueller report, which was a damp squib. Now they seek to remove him and preempt the 2020 election – because the people might choose wrong, again.

James Howard Kunstler
Photo by Charlie Samuels.

About Kunstler

James Howard Kunstler (Wikipedia) worked as a reporter and feature writer for a number of newspapers, before working as a staff writer for Rolling Stone Magazine. In 1975, he began writing books on a full-time basis. Kunstler is the author of 12 novels and has been a regular contributor to many major media, writing about environmental and economic issues. He is a leading supporter of the movement known as “New Urbanism.”

He has lectured at Harvard, Yale, Columbia, Princeton, Dartmouth, Cornell, MIT, and many other colleges. He has written five non-fiction books.

For More Information

Ideas! For some shopping ideas, see my recommended books and films at Amazon.

See a Twitter thread about this story from Fred Fleitz, a former CIA analyst and former senior NSC official. He edited transcripts of POTUS phone calls with foreign leaders. Interesting observations. Also see “No, the Biden-Ukraine Story Is Not a ‘Conspiracy Theory’” by Matthew Bose.

Please like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter. For more information see all posts about the Deep State, about our intel agencies, about the CIA, about ways to reform America’s politics, and especially these …

  1. The Democratic Party goes to war. We’re all its casualties.
  2. Times they are a-changin’ for the Democratic Party!
  3. Democrats betray their principles & embrace the Deep State.
  4. William Lind: the Deep State reveals itself.
  5. In 2018 the Deep State went public & the Democrats betrayed us.

Books revealing the Deep State

I recommend reading The Deep State: The Fall of the Constitution and the Rise of a Shadow Government by Mike Lofgren (2016). See the Forward to it. See my review of it.

The American Deep State: Big Money, Big Oil, and the Struggle for U.S. Democracy by Peter Dale Scott, former Canadian diplomat and professor emeritus at Berkeley (2017). See his website.

The Deep State: The Fall of the Constitution and the Rise of a Shadow Government
Available at Amazon.
The American Deep State: Big Money, Big Oil, and the Struggle for U.S. Democracy
Available at Amazon.

42 thoughts on “The amazing Trump-Ukraine-Whistleblower story in a nutshell”

  1. You seem to have a lot more faith in Barr than I do. He clearly is not doing his job. Don’t forget that Barr has been a Deep State critter for most of his career. And the Deep State protects their own.

    1. What?

      “You seem to have a lot more faith in Barr than I do.”

      I assume you refer to this: “the blizzard of indictments coming down on your partisans.” Those are Kunslter’s words. My comment is in the Editor’s Afterword:

      “I disagree with Kunstler about the likely ending of this story. Being in the Deep State means never having to say you’re sorry. Accountability is for the little people.”

  2. Larry,

    I was just telling my brother about this very scenario last night and had to remind him about the Anonymous letter in the NYT. There are a lot people out there who are not connecting the dots.

    Having said that, Trump really is his own worst enemy. If he doesn’t pursue this folly, nothing would have come of it. The Deep State just had to wait him out as they probably figured he would trip over his own ego again in typical Trumpian fashion.

    1. Craig,

      I agree on all points.

      Trump is a clown, as was Sarah Palin and are several of the Dem’s presidential candidates. We can only guess at the calculations of the Deep State’s leaders. Perhaps they figured that Clown Trump would be the ideal president for a coup. Doing it against someone like LBJ, Bush-Cheney, or Obama wouldn’t end well for them. Too much institutional support. Trump is the cheese that stands alone.

      1. Larry,

        Perhaps but he’s still your President, and hopefully, will be ’til 2024. Pocahontas? Think about it.

      2. Ron,

        I’ll vote for the best of the worst offered in 2020. But more importantly, I continue working so that we have competent candidates to choose from in 2024. So long as we accept what our elites serve us, like pigs led to the trough, then we face a bleak future.

  3. New Urbanism is a dangerous cult founded by Andres Duany, communist from Cuba. It is promoting compact global ‘networks’ of cities under the UN and its goal is confinement and redistribution of the wealth. New Urbanism is a cult that is invading your towns and cities…. the enemy is local at your door!

  4. Elizabeth Warren is, imo, the designated Democratic nominee to run against Trump. It is another fortuitous coincidence that this story draws attention to the Biden’s, the front-runner, impossible to justify actions supporting his son’s corrupt deal with Ukraine

    This seems to mean that both trump and the Democrats want warren to run?

  5. I don’t believe it was IG Horowitz who transmitted the WBPA complaint. I think it was a different IG.

  6. “I was not a direct witness to most of the events described.” So, the whistleblower was a direct witness to at least one of the events described? If so, then the one event witnessed first-hand should be enough to allow the complaint to go forward, with all the second-hand baggage trailing behind.

    I wouldn’t mind if Biden was investigated alongside Trump. AG Barr? Republicans in the Senate? Anyone interested in opening an investigation?

    Swamp critters come in all varieties.

    1. Philip,

      The point of the whistleblower act was to require he or she to be a witness to a material act. There is much covered in the whistleblower’s letter, much of which is proper behavior for the President. Being a witness to those events is not relevant.

      That letter appears to have been crafted by a skilled attorney. So it must be read carefully. It does not say “I was a witness to these material events.”

  7. I am not sure any of Kunstler’s article matters. So what if it was second hand information or if there is some deep state conspiracy (which I think is ridiculous)? Trump himself released the transcript of the call where he clearly has withheld billions in foreign aid and pointedly asks for a favor to investigate his primary election rival. He deserves what he gets.

    1. Digadigadig,

      How is that different than the Obama’s administration’s investigation of the Trump campaign – which was on a larger scale and with far less evidentiary basis? That is, the hiring of Biden’s son was clearly with the intent to influence Biden. And Biden admitted that he pressured Ukraine not to investigate his son.

      1. If you can’t see how these two things are different I’m not sure we have much common ground from which we can debate. 1) US government investigates a US citizen following accusations and evidence that a foreign government was interfering in the presidential election and the candidate himself publicly asked for Russia’s help to find Hilary’s emails on the hustings and on camera. 2) current president “asks a favor” of foreign government to investigate his likely rival after putting the congressionally approved millions of military aid on hold which is clearly hanging in the balance and at risk if the other government doesn’t comply.

        Perhaps what the Bidens did actually crossed a line, but I’m not talking about him or his son. Investigate and prosecute them as you see fit. It really is not material when evaluating Trump’s behavior. Trump clearly used his position in a manner that is dangerous and not fit for the presidency. “But Biden did bad stuff too” doesn’t mean anything in evaluating THIS president and his actions. He should be impeached and removed from office, full stop.

      2. Digadigadig,

        Don’t make up stuff, attribute it to me, and give a rebuttal to it. That’s a common tactic used by Leftists, and a pretty despicable one. That’s not “debate.”

        Re-read what I said, and then re-read your comment.

      3. I made nothing up. My original comment says Trump admitted to an action in the transcript and that is enough to hold him accountable. You replied with “what about what Obama did.” To borrow your phrase, Whataboutism is a common tactic used by rightists, and a pretty despicable one.

      4. Digadigadig,

        So you can’t read the words on the screen over the Leftist voices screaming in your head? OK, I’ll spell it out for you.

        “It really is not material when evaluating Trump’s behavior.”

        I did not say it was material, because of course it isn’t. Your rant responds to voices in your head, not what I said. Rather it is the hypocrisy of the Dems.

        • The RussiaGate investigation was based on unvalidated information from Hillary’s oppo research, allegedly Russian sources (who supposedly betrayed Russia’s biggest op ever) – plus rumors from intel sources (also unvalidated). This continued for at least a year after the claims were proven to be baseless.
        • Biden’s son’s directorship was obvious corruption, as was Biden’s support of his son.

        This shows a near-total corruption of the system, whereas those with power protect their own and “investigate” their political opponents. This is very Third World behavior, and can quickly escalate and destabilize the system.

    2. Or to put it another way, The Bidens may be corrupt, and Snr. admits to disposing of one investigation by using political/financial muscle, and Trump uses the same political financial muscle to reinstate the investigation. So Trump must be impeached and for the Bidens it’s just nothing to see here, move along?

      Biden wants to be president and appears to have confessed to blocking an investigation into the alleged corruption of his son. This doesn’t raise alarm bells? At all?

      1. Steve,

        That is pretty much the story in a nutshell. Plus the disturbing role (again) of people in or linked to the intel community – and the Democrat’s new alliance with them (much like the alliance Bill Clinton forged between them and Wall Street). Summary: gross hypocrisy by the Dems while they wrap themselves in angels’ robes.

        But the narrative about UkraineGate is already falling apart (as did the many many previous attempts). See the updates in this post.

      2. Actually, yes it is Trump must be impeached, and since Biden does not currently hold office…uh…feel free to not vote for him. Feel free to investigate him and his son all you want. That is separate from Trump’s admitted misuse of his office.

      3. Digadig,

        “yes it is Trump must be impeached”

        It is not the naked blind partisanship of that statement to which I object. That is, that you read some newspaper stories and believe that Trump should be impeached (although that narrative, like the dozen before it, is already falling apart). It is the guilability – that you believe what you are told, without questioning. That is an increasingly common trait in America, both Left and Right. No matter how often US officals lie to us (see the Big List of Lies), many Americans believe it like little children.

        This is why I put regaining our skepticism (becoming less gullible) high on my list of things to do necessary for the reform of American politics.

      4. Digadigadig,

        LK’s update;

        (2) Update: The Zelenskyy-Trump conversation seems quite cordial, with no mention of the vital funds being withheld. The NYT’s Kenneth Vogel explains. This refutes allegations that Trump in effect offered a quid pro quo.


      Actually, yes it is Trump must be impeached

      It’s an imperative. Trump must be impeached and forced to leave office, no matter what the offence.

      It’s like the Democrats have no faith in the abilities of any of their candidates for the 2020 election. So they’re trying to nobble the opposition by any and all means. It’s an admission that none can compete against a large orange oaf. In a country that voted Obama in two elections.

      In other circumstances it would be funny.

      1. Larry,

        Like I said, a guess. It looks to me like Volker had issues with Guiliani acting as Trump’s personal lawyer, and digging up dirt on Biden.

        Oh well, Biden did what they accuse Trump of doing and bragged about it. Hearings should be good.

      2. Ron,

        I believe skepticism is the proper perspective about the internal workings of other people’s marriages and the government. That so many outsiders speak with certainty, as if God just whispered in their ear, about such things is interesting – but not to be taken seriously.

  8. The Man Who Laughs

    They have been plotting impeachment, and planning impeachment, and dreaming about impeachment, and scheming about Impeachment, and promising impeachment and threatening impeachment, since election night of 2016. Mueller didn’t deliver, But that’s OK, because we’ve got a complaint based on hearsay leading to a “transcript” based on notes and recollections that shows nothing in particular. Well, alrighty then. Hangin’s too good for him. And if you had told me about any of this before it happened I would have said you were off your meds.

    I’m still not sure they’re actually going to impeach. Deep Whistle remained in the shadows (Sort of. Kunstler is right that this person is findable) for a reason. To impeach is to commit to a trial where the President’s lawyers can call witnesses, and these people can’t answer questions. And to remove Trump gives us President Pence who might just clean out Langley and the Hoover Building with a fire hose.

    So maybe the game is to try to rig the election in favor of Hillary 2.0 by smearing Trump, Well, the Deep State tried to put the Hillary 1.0 in office, and that didn’t work out so good. First time as tragedy, second time as farce.

    I swear, Larry, if you had told me about this before it happened I would have said you were off your meds.

  9. Is the democrat impeachment talk re: “Ukraine-gate” designed to hurt the election chances of Trump … or Biden? It has to be both.

    1. Daniel,

      “Why” is the often most difficult question to answer, esp when looking at the motivations of people we don’t know.

      My guess: no matter what the target, it is wonderful to get two birds with one stone. That is, this is a feature not a bug.

  10. Alastair McIntosh

    No comments since yesterday’s statement by the “Office of the Inspector General of the Intelligence Community’s Statement on Processing of Whistleblower Complaints” was posted on-line? Check the link below.

    A few points:
    1. The rules governing whistle-blowers have not changed.
    2. The I.G. had developed a new form for whistle-blowers to use to file their complaints because the old form may have been confusing.
    3. The entire issue is moot because the Trump whistle-blower did have firsthand knowledge.
    Details at:

    1. Alastair,

      (1) Summary of the IG letter.

      • The whistleblower was given a form letter saying that first-hand information was required. So the whistleblower checked the appropriate box.
      • The whistleblower had first-hand info, although the letter to Congress doesn’t mention any.
      • First-hand knowledge is not needed. Why is that relevant here?
      • The IG has revised its forms and procedures in response to this incident. Why is that relevant?

      (2) The whistleblower’s degree of first-hand knowledge seems important. We do not have the whistleblower’s 401 form. We do have the cover letter he or she submitted to Congress. It makes no claim about having first-hand information regarding the major claims. They are described as hearsay or from public media. It does not even say something to the effect that “I have first-hand observations, but are classified – and so are mentioned on my 401 form.”

      That was the basis for concern about the 410 form. Now we have the IG’s statement that there was first-hand info, which (apparently) wasn’t mentioned in the cover letter to Congress. Strange, but perhaps more answers will emerge.

      (3) “The rules governing whistle-blowers have not changed.”

      You are assuming that Jonathan Chait accurately describes what the IG’s note says. Not a good assumption to ever make with Chait.

      Chait says that “the underlying requirements to submit a complaint did not change.” That’s false. The “Background Information on ICWPA Process” explicitly stated that first-hand knowledge was required. The IG said that this form was changed in response to this incident. That is what many, such as Sean Davis at The Federalist, suspected. They were correct. The IG Office described the change in a deliberately unclear fashion.

      “In the process of reviewing and clarifying those forms, and in response to recent press inquiries regarding the instant whistleblower complaint, the ICIG understood that certain language in those forms and, more specifically, the informational materials accompanying the forms, could be read – incorrectly – as suggesting that whistleblowers must possess first-hand information in order to file an urgent concern complaint with the congressional intelligence committees. The ICIG’s Center for Protected Disclosures has developed three new forms …”

      (4) Other, more important information, has emerged.

      Susan Rice, Obama’s National Security Advisor, has debunked Allegation II.

      “Former national security adviser Susan Rice acknowledged last night that the Obama administration moved transcripts of conversations with foreign leaders onto the same top-secret server where the Trump administration stored his recent phone call with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky.”

      Allegation II includes this false statement, showing a lack of familiarity with the material: “official word-for-word transcript of the call that was produced — as is customary — by the White House Situation Room.” The “transcript” was assembled from notes. This is clearly indicated on the bottom of the page.

      (5) Government officials often lie, but many Americans still believe them the next time (see the big list of lies) – like a child shocked when his older brother says that there is no Santa Claus. This applies 10x for officials the intelligence agencies, who lie as easily as regular people breath. Lies from IC and LEOs have been an integral part of RussiaGate.

      Your trusting nature makes the New America – whatever replaces the Republic – possible!

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