Background Briefing: September 26, 2019


How the Whistleblower’s Complaint Tracks with the Transcript

We begin with the public testimony today from the Acting Director of National Intelligence Admiral Joseph Maguire before the House Intelligence Committee which was followed by closed testimony before the Senate Intelligence Committee at which the Inspector General of the Intelligence Committee also testified. Liz Hempowicz, Director of Public Policy at the Project of Government Oversight where she oversees legislative reform work with a focus on whistleblower protections and government accountability, joins us to discuss the release of an unclassified version of the whistleblower’s complaint at the center of this scandal and how it tracks with the previously released transcript of the phone conversation between President Trump and President Zelensky of Ukraine. Since the complaint, which under law was supposed to go to the heads of the Intelligence Committees to whom it is addressed, but instead went to the White House and the Department of Justice, both headed by people named in the complaint and exposed in the transcript, we will assess how much Donald Trump and William Barr will be held to account, given the explosive evidence contained in the complaint. With Trump already calling for the whistleblower and his colleagues to be punished like spies were in the old days, we will look into what kind of protections members of the intelligence community have if they become whistleblowers, because unless they are properly protected, then more leaks to the press are likely.


Trump and Barr’s Efforts to “Lockdown” the Complaint

Then we speak with a former member of the National Security Council and a former Counsel to the Senate Intelligence committee, David Halperin, about the White House’s and the DOJ’s efforts to “lock down” the whistleblower’s complaint and the unusual nature of the complaint itself which is unprecedented. Previous American presidents have been scrupulous and deadly serious about handling our national security, not a self-obsessed conman only out for themselves like Trump who almost certainly has had similar shady dealings with Erdogan, MBS, Kim Jong-un, Xi Jinping and Vladimir Putin which hopefully other courageous whistleblowers will expose.


The Reasons Behind Trump’s Offer to Buy Greenland

Then finally, we examine the reasons behind Trump’s recent offer to buy Greenland that was dismissed as “absurd” but is actually quite sinister and speak with Michael Klare, a Senior Visiting Fellow at the Arms Control Association and Five College Professor Emeritus of Peace and World Security Studies. His latest book, out soon, is “All Hell Breaking Loose: The Pentagon’s Perspective on Climate Change” and we will discuss his article at Tom Dispatch, “The Pompeo Doctrine: How to Seize the Arctic’s Resources, Now Accessible Due to Climate Change (Just Don’t Mention Those Words!)”