The "facts" presented to trump supporters re impeachment

This article is part of the conservative bloggasphere’s efforts to provide credible counter narrative to the events unfolding. They frame a huge conspiracy against trump, not only involving a “fake” media, but an intelligence culture that is out to get trump. See:

To me, arguments about second hand information has already been proved moot - trumps “transcript” confirmed the whistleblowers account. But this goes beyond that to claim the rules around whistleblower complaints were changed as part of a conspiracy. Trump supporters that buy into this would say the media would not report this block-buster revelation.

And this blog - the federalist - to me reads like a trashy conservative propaganda machine.


This is the federalist mindset. Fuck them. Anyone who puts any faith in their opinion is way too far gone to save at this point.


I agree, but would prefer to counter it with true facts, and not simply dismissing it.

If you google “whistle-blower second-hand” you’ll find that this conspiracy notion is all over the conservative internet. Make a preposterous claim, and then when it does not appear in the media, use that to reinforce that the media is part of the conspiracy.

Who is familiar with the law surrounding whistle-blowers? Is this claim that the rules were changed directly before the complaint bullshit or not?

If they’re saying some rule change “happened so secretly that it wasn’t reported by anyone” then it’s by definition impossible to refute, but that means they have to prove it happened outside of conspiracy theory speculation.

Shorter: You’ll never find a fact that’s facty enough to disprove non-disprovable conspiracy theories.


Agreed. The One Weird Trick about conspiracy theories is that they can morph and meld around facts, especially contrary ones. No amount of facts can lever open the closed minds of trubelievers because they alone know how things really went down, because the lizard-people are orchestrating the whole thing, chemtrails and airplane coffee, false-flag crisis actors, etc…

Any time there’s a contrary fact, just wrap it in a protective layer of that’s what They want you to think wake up sheeple and move along. Denial is an easy course to sail.

I’m not hoping to convince anybody. But I want to know myself that it is bullshit.

If there was something here - ok, I get that they say the press won’t mention it. But I just watched a GOP rep on Meet the Press, and you would think it would be the first thing they had to say. Its not like the press can edit everything that is said. The reason republican senators and representatives are not touting this revelation is likely because it is not true.

Well that would be a generous take on it.


The main reason this conspiracy theory doesn’t hold up is that they are claiming a form was sneakily changed to allow “second-hand” reporting.

To support their speculation, they point to older advice that a complaint shouldn’t be made if the complainant is offering “nothing more than second-hand or unsubstantiated allegations”.

The whistle-blower here is offering first-hand accounts as well. That’s not “nothing more than second-hand” accounts by definition.

So there was no reason to imagine a plot to change the form to allow the complaint.

They’re wrongheadedly claiming that the previous form wouldn’t have allowed a whistleblower to report, “I saw sketchy stuff and I also heard other people say that they also heard sketchy stuff”.

That’s opposite of true.


The complaint says that first hand accounts were received, but the complaint is not filed by those individuals. So how do you regard that? Do you believe that makes it a first hand account?

I would say the first hand facts in the complaint are that more than a half dozen US officials have related facts to the complainant. Debating those facts as first hand or second hand is now moot as all have been confirmed by the record released by the white house.

What I would like to know is whether the rules were changed after these notifications were made to allow the complainant to bring them forward. If so, was the change legal? That is the only important question. Because it makes no difference to the crimes that trump has committed.

That’s second-hand.

The point is that the advice they’re complaining “disappeared” only said to not make a complaint with “nothing more” than second-hand.

The rules before and after the “change” both would have allowed the same complaint.

Also, there doesn’t seem to be a change at all. If someone submitted a form of solely second-hand allegations, it would likely be treated identically as a year ago. (This complaint isn’t a form of solely second-hand allegations.)

It’s like imagining a complicated conspiracy theory to get Trump to get out of bed on the other side of the bed, when it makes no difference to anything of substance. They are “Look at that shiny thing over there.”-ing you.

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well, yes - the info received was second hand. But his account of how many people contacted him is first-hand, and lends to the credibility of the information.

did you find some comparison of the forms discussed somewhere? I see only a clip of the the prior form on the link, which may be hiding further advice on complaints that will also include second-hand references.

which part of the complaint do you consider to not be second-hand

Follows the usual trajectory: Was anti-Trump until he won, then came around. Defended Roy Moore.

They are not a conservative propaganda machine, they are a Republican propaganda machine.


That’s what second-hand information is. It does lend credibility to the whistle-blower’s own first hand experiences, and that’s why it was never illegal to include.

You linked to a comparison of the forms. This thread only exists because of that. I don’t need to see all forms that ever existed, because what they show doesn’t support their argument in the first place.

The whistle-blower had direct access to the readout of the phonecall. That’s privileged direct access to a primary document. That’s not telling someone else’s “story”; that’s seeing a documented mechanical reproduction.

Supplementing that with additional second-hand material would not be solely second-hand.

People claiming the form advice is important are trying to push the premise that “I saw that my boss wrote about stealing a truck and I also heard people say he stole a truck” would somehow be an “illegal” complaint that would have been thrown in the trash. Inane.

So you believe that the whistleblowers possession and reading of the call’s “readout” is first hand information, not second hand. I’m not sure there will be consensus on that. The second hand accounts would certainly confirm what he saw in the read-out. The question is, to disambiguate, Is the readout equal to witnessing the call?

It’s whistleblower legislation. It’s not designed to make all conceivable whistleblowing scenarios functionally impossible to make complaints about.

If an accountant sees that money was taken out to pay off a blackmailer, or to pay off an illicit vacation, they don’t have to see the person cash the check, or someone get on a plane.

Having access to primary documents is firsthand. The whistleblower could have made a whistleblower complaint on having seen the primary readout alone in the course of their work.


im pretty sure the only way to have first hand knowledge is if you’re the person who committed the act in the first place. and if your name is immanuel kant, not even then.

the recommendations imply they were written to stop reports of rumour and hearsay. litigating the precise nature of primary and secondary is solely to reframe and redirect the arguments away from trump’s actions.

the dni is on the record saying everything is above board. the justice department, yes go ahead release this. when the legality of the whistle blowing gets brought up, people just need to repeat those things and then move immediately to the actual substance:

45 asked a foreign government to investigate a political rival as a personal favor. multiple times. that’s corruption pure and simple


Immanuel Kant didn’t set the legal precedents of what “first-hand” means (it would be incredibly interesting if he had done).

The conspiracy theory is a distraction.

It’s also not consistent with what whistleblowers are expected and allowed to report.

Neither of those facts will convince anyone trying to defend Trump.

But fortunately and ultimately, Trump-supporters don’t represent the main body of people who will vote on impeachment, and the people in the House are not going to be swayed by stupid theories like this.

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yes - thank you for clarifying responses. I agree with you. I also know anybody that believes in this crazy theory will deny this.