Will the impeachment push over Ukraine-Gate collapse before it gets going — or is the White House spin cycle already up to full speed? According to a “senior Trump administration official” who spoke to Fox News Channel, an inspector general determined that the whistleblower in the case had a “political bias” in favor of a 2020 challenger to Donald Trump. If true, that may be why the administration pledged to make the whistleblower complaint public along with the transcript of Trump’s conversation with Ukraine’s Volodymyr Zelenskiy:
A senior Trump administration official told Fox News late Tuesday that the administration will release a document showing the intelligence community inspector general found the whistleblower who leveled an explosive accusation against President Trump concerning his talks with Ukraine had “political bias” in favor of “a rival candidate” of the president.
The official did not identify the name of the rival candidate. Separately, a senior administration official told Fox News the White House has been working as quickly as it can to release to Congress the whistleblower complaint involving President Trump’s conversations with the leader of Ukraine, as long as it’s legally possible. …
The senior administration official told Fox News that the White House had nothing to hide, that there has been no wrongdoing, and that the White House’s general position has been that it will make everything possible available to Congress or the public regarding Trump’s conversations with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky and the complaint to the intelligence community’s inspector general.
If true. There are two ways to approach this rather helpful leak from the White House. If it’s on the level, then Nancy Pelosi just walked into a huge bear trap on impeachment, likely against her better judgment. Such a finding by the IG will not just make this secondhand whistleblower complaint look nakedly political, it will also underscore one of Donald Trump’s criticisms of the intelligence community as a nest of vipers conspiring to get rid of him. Democrats will look like dupes at best, and at worst co-conspirators in an abuse of power that would be on a similar scale to Watergate, only with the abuses of power reversed.
That might seem just a wee bit too convenient for those used to being skeptical about leaked information from White Houses. Here’s the other possibility — someone took a line from the IG report out of context to argue that the whole thing is just a partisan shot, hoping to put enough spin into the mix to have that narrative dominate when the report is released. Dressing it up as a leak from within the White House makes it look perhaps a bit more credible than having Trump say it on his Twitter feed.
Which is it? If it’s on the level, it raises questions about why the White House balked at passing the information to the intel committees in the first place. If it’s the latter, though, why would they pledge to release the complaint and report along with the Zelenskiy transcript? Besides, this presumably is the same IG who reportedly found the information provided credible and “urgent.” Noting that the whistleblower has a political bias would be necessary, as Allahpundit pointed out to me by DM, but that would tend to make the credible-and-urgent conclusion more compelling rather than less.
As for me, I’m leaning toward spin. The narrative reported by Fox News just fits way too neatly and waaaaay too conveniently into the Trump administration’s narratives about the intel community, the deep state, and the Democrats. Anything too good to be true — and this certainly qualifies — usually isn’t.
But if it is … Pelosi’s got a huge problem on her hands.