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This Week: The Whistleblower Changes The Narrative

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September 20, 2019 3:08 p.m.

The (potentially) explosive whistleblower complaint: This week ushered in a significant revelation about President Trump’s dealings with foreign officials. We’ve learned that the President allegedly enlisted the help of the Ukrainian government to bolster his own reelection.

Let’s take a step back. The House Intelligence Committee this week became aware of a complaint from an intelligence community whistleblower. The complaint has been shrouded in mystery for days, as the acting director of national intelligence has refused to give Congress any details. House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff (D-CA) hypothesized earlier this week that the complaint likely centers on President Trump or a top White House or administration official. And he was right — thanks to reporting by the Washington Post, we learned Wednesday evening that the complaint focuses on a “promise” that President Trump made during a conversation with a foreign leader.

The House Intelligence Committee was briefed on the document Thursday during a closed-door session with the intelligence community inspector general. During that session, we learned the IG revealed the complaint focused on a series of actions, not just a single phone call, but he would not say whether Trump was involved in any aspect of the complaint.

On Thursday evening, the New York Times and the Washington Post reported that Ukraine was involved in the complaint as well, which our Josh Kovensky predicted hours before. Later Thursday evening, Trump’s attorney Rudy Giuliani confirmed during an interview that he had asked the Ukrainian government to look into allegations against former Vice President and 2020 contender Joe Biden. It’s unclear how exactly Ukraine fits into this ongoing saga, but many point to a phone call between Trump and the president-elect of Ukraine in July. House Democrats are already probing that call to determine whether Trump and Giuliani are working to manipulate the Ukrainian government into helping Trump’s reelection.

Moving on…

Lewandowski smugly takes the floor: Former Trump campaign manager Corey Lewandowski testified before the House Judiciary Committee this week, the first official hearing of the panel’s impeachment probe. But Lewandowski largely stonewalled Democrats questions and leaned into Republicans efforts to paint the hearing as a joke. TPM’s Tierney Sneed predicted as much ahead of the hearing. Given Lewandowski’s widely documented interest in running for Senate in New Hampshire, the former campaign chairman was clearly playing to Trump’s supporters.

Toward the end of the hearing, the ex-campaign manager admitted that he feels no obligation to be honest with the media. Bafflingly, multiple news outlets, including CNN, opted to book Lewandowski on their shows the next morning.

The next day, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) argued that committee Democrats should have voted to hold Lewandowski in contempt, right then and there.

House Oversight checks the receipts: The House Oversight Committee announced this week that the military had spent more than $184,000 at President Trump’s luxury golf resort in Scotland since 2017. The update comes after reports revealed that on multiple instances in the past five years, the Air Force stayed at the Trump Turnberry resort while refueling in Scotland.

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