The Whistle-Blower Really Knows How to Write

As an intelligence report, the complaint against Trump holds up well. The author carefully explained where the information came from and left investigators a number of concrete leads.

We’re not talking about relaying rumors by the lone office gossip or low-level bureaucrats on the fringes of the decision-making apparatus. The multiple sources in the complaint are all said to be U.S. officials, many with “direct knowledge” of the events described, including “White House officials.”

Importantly, Michael Atkinson, the inspector general for the intelligence community, conducted a preliminary review of the whistle-blower’s complaint and, in his letter to acting Director of National Intelligence Joseph Maguire, noted multiple corroborating sources as well. In fact, though Atkinson said he had reason to believe the whistle-blower may have “political bias” and favor a rival political candidate, the complaint nonetheless “appears credible.” Why? Because of “the other information” Atkinson uncovered during the preliminary review.

The intelligence community’s inspector general wants that word-for-word transcript. On August 26, the same day that Atkinson sent the whistle-blower complaint to Maguire, he sent a “document hold notice” to the White House counsel requesting that all relevant records regarding the July 25 phone call, as well as “alleged related efforts to solicit, obtain, or receive assistance from foreign nationals in Ukraine, directly or indirectly, in connection with a Federal election,” be preserved, and that his office be given access to them as required by law.

In the coming days, it will be important to learn whether this actual verbatim transcript of the July 25 call still exists. If it does, will Congress or Atkinson’s office get it? And why would the White House release a summary rather than a redacted version of the verbatim transcript unless the verbatim transcript provides information more damaging to the administration?

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