The lights are often on late into the evening at CIA headquarters, where a team of elite analysts works on classified reports that influence how the country responds to global crises.
In early August, one of those analysts was staying after hours on a project with even higher stakes. For two weeks, he pored over notes of alarming conversations with White House officials, reviewed details from interagency memos on the U.S. relationship with Ukraine and scanned public statements by President Trump.
He wove this material into a nine-page memo outlining evidence that Trump had abused the powers of his office to try to coerce Ukraine into helping him get reelected. Then, on Aug. 12, the analyst hit “send.”
His decision to report what he had learned to the U.S. intelligence community’s inspector general has transformed the political landscape of the United States, triggering a rapid-moving impeachment inquiry that now imperils Trump’s presidency.
Over the past three months, the allegations made in that document have been overwhelmingly substantiated — by the sworn testimony of administration officials, the inadvertent admissions of Trump’s acting chief of staff and, most importantly, the president’s own words, as captured on a record of his July 25 call with the leader of Ukraine.
As the impeachment inquiry entered a new phase of public hearings on Wednesday, the outlines of the case have been thoroughly established: President Trump, his personal lawyer Rudolph W. Giuliani and two diplomats are alleged to have collaborated to pressure Ukraine to pursue investigations to bolster Trump’s conspiracy theories about the 2016 election and damage the prospects of his potential opponent in next year’s election, former vice president Joe Biden.
Trump cites corruption in Kyiv and European stinginess to justify actions on Ukraine. Neither rationale withstands close scrutiny.
To advance this hidden agenda, Trump and his allies orchestrated the ouster of a U.S. ambassador, the withholding of an Oval Office meeting from Ukraine’s new president and the suspension of hundreds of millions of dollars in U.S. aid.
But beyond that familiar fact pattern, the revelations reflect a country in political crisis.
The United States has embarked on an impeachment proceeding against a president for only the third time in its history. The voluminous testimony so far has revealed a government at war with itself over how to respond to Trump’s frequent conflation of the country’s interests with his own. After casting itself as a force against corruption, condemning politically driven prosecutions in other countries, the United States now appears to have sought to coerce such actions from a partner nation.
It is not clear whether any of this would have come to light were it not for the actions of a relatively junior CIA employee, who is now the target of almost daily attacks by Trump and right-wing efforts to make his identity widely public.
While Pelosi and Schiff have been openly defending the whistleblower, and the media (other than Fox News State TV of course) have been protecting the whistleblower's identity against a raging thug of a chief executive, it's far past time that the media has laid out the reasoning for choosing to defend this hero.
Despite all the GOP dirty tricks and smoke and mirrors, the whistleblower's case has been solidly backed up at every juncture by evidence and testimony.
This is the case to remove Trump from office, being made as we watch.