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19 Sep, 2019 22:33

Russiagate’s last stand? #Resistance works itself up over whistleblower complaint on Trump’s alleged ‘favor to foreign leader’

Russiagate’s last stand? #Resistance works itself up over whistleblower complaint on Trump’s alleged ‘favor to foreign leader’

Just when you thought the Russiagate horse was well and truly dead, count on House Intelligence chair Adam Schiff to whip it back into life with another saucy tale of collusion, conspiracy and cover-up.

President Donald Trump’s alleged “collusion” with Russia to swing the 2016 election has largely been absent from the news of late. After the Mueller Report cleared the president of wrongdoing, and after the damp squib that was Special Counsel Mueller’s testimony before Congress in July, the story finally exited the news cycle.

Here comes Congressman Schiff (D-California), determined to breathe new life into the old tale once more. After two years of claiming that “ample evidence of collusion”... “undoubtedly”... “exists in plain sight,” the California Democrat unveiled the latest piece of evidence on Thursday, or rather didn’t.

Also on rt.com ‘Far into conspiracy theorizing’: Ex-MSNBC Host Krystal Ball slams network for Russiagate hype

Schiff seized upon a whistleblower complaint brought to the acting Director of National Intelligence Joseph Maguire last month. The complaint – if the Washington Post’s sources are correct – alleges that President Trump “promised” a favor to an unspecified “foreign leader.” The complaint was deemed serious by Intelligence Community Inspector General Michael Atkinson, but withheld from Congress.

Speaking to reporters on Thursday after a closed-door hearing with Atkinson, Schiff revealed nothing about the complaint’s contents, but accused Maguire and the Justice Department of withholding it from Congress at the behest of Trump or “someone in a higher pay grade.”

READ MORE: ‘Not a House party’: Ex-Trump aide Lewandowski hearing turns into impeachment circus

Maguire will appear before a public hearing next week. Until then, details are thin on the ground. However, the sniff of scandal has already whetted the appetite of the #Resistance, who have already rolled the dice and concluded that the complaint must involve Trump and Russian President Vladimir Putin. 

“The whistleblower could well blow the lid off three-plus years of Trump/Russia shenanigans,” wrote author Greg Olear, who admitted in a later tweet to “screaming about Trump/Russia since January 2016.” 

As said before, little is known about the complaint. While Atkinson marked it an “urgent concern,” Schiff has been known to drop red herrings before, with none of his media spots promising “proof” of Trump’s guilt amounting to anything more than what Mueller covered in his report.

Schiff devoted much of his press conference to demanding the DNI release the complaint, citing whistleblower protection legislation. Except the White House doesn’t have to. Though by law Maguire would be required to hand over whistleblower complaints to Congress within a week, other legislation – signed into law by Presidents Clinton and Obama – preserves the right for “classified” or “privileged” information to be withheld. The argument goes that such protection is necessary to allow the president to act in confidence when holding a classified conversation with a foreign leader.

Meanwhile, Trump has followed a different line of defense.

“Is anybody dumb enough to believe that I would say something inappropriate with a foreign leader while on such a potentially ‘heavily populated’ call,” he tweeted on Thursday.

Legitimate complaint or #Resistance flop? Based on events of the last two years, the anti-Trump crowd shouldn’t get their hopes up.

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