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Who's Whistling and Why?

The Primary: On Wednesday, the Washington Post reported that an unidentified U.S. intelligence official found a conversation between Trump and a foreign leader "so troubling" they filed a whistleblower compliant with the inspector general. On Thursday, the New York Times reported there was more whistling done than originally thought. The complaint was "related to a series of actions" by Trump – not just one conversation with a foreign leader. Late Thursday night the Wapo reported Ukraine was involved.

  • Who? What? Why?: We still don't know the details. Trump has denied wrongdoing. The inspector general, Michael Atkinson, reviewed the complaint and said it was "troubling enough to be considered a matter of 'urgent concern,'" reports the Times. 

  • The Baseline: Want to see the complaint? Well, you're going to have to wait, just like *almost* everybody else. As soon as Atkinson called the complaint of "urgent concern" it was, as is generally required by law, supposed to be turned over to Congress. But the acting director of national intelligence, Joseph Maguire, refused to turn it over. Why? Well, he says the complaint falls outside his purview because it doesn't involve someone within the intelligence community. 

  • From the Left: Robert Reich, a former NY Times columnist who served in the Ford, Carter, and Clinton administrations, tweeted: "An intelligence officer files a whistleblower complaint with the Inspector General about a promise Trump made to a foreign leader, which Inspector General finds of 'urgent concern.' But Trump blocks it. This is no longer a government of the people. It’s a government of Trump."

  • From the Right: Bill Kristol, founder and editor-in-chief of the now-defunct Weekly Standard, tweeted: "If the whistleblower complaint is serious—as the IG seems to think—it won’t be Trump being careless or reckless on calls with foreign leaders. It would have to be an apparent quid pro quo—an offer of a U.S. policy in return for Trump’s personal benefit or electoral advantage.

  • Go Deeper: Trump's lawyers are attempting to block a NY subpoena for eight years of the president's tax returns. The lawyers argue the president cannot be criminally investigated while in office.

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