He can be reached at garrett. Since then, reporting by The New York Times , The Washington Post , and The Wall Street Journal has filled in some of the details of that whistle-blower complaint, suggesting that it centers at least in part on communications between President Trump and Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelensky.
At the end of the day, though, the scandal boils down to this: The US president is alleged to have used the weight of his office to pressure a foreign nation into investigating a political opponent.
Maguire is set to testify before Congress later this week. So far he has refused to hand over the whistle-blower information to Congress, even as the law appears to leave him little room to stonewall Schiff and his committee. Where does he come from. They show up to work each day to keep the country safe and ensure the president has access to the best information that technology and human sources can provide.
As president, Trump has regularly railed against the intel agencies, including spreading spurious allegations that his offices at Trump Tower were wiretapped by the US government. Meanwhile, the intelligence community has had to grapple with the possibility that the commander in chief himself represents a national security risk. Similarly concerning, Trump has kept notes private from his meetings with Russian president Vladimir Putin and refused to allow Americans to accompany him to some of those conversations—remarkable departures from normal practices. Moreover, top national security officials have been told not even to mention to the president threats that are politically inconvenient to him.
Despite all of those previous problems, the allegations levied in the wake of the whistle-blower news—that the president was wielding the power of American foreign policy to punish a political opponent and benefit himself in a reelection campaign— would be the most blatant example of corruption to emerge yet from the Trump administration. National security officials should be additionally concerned over these allegations because they run exactly counter to long-standing US foreign policy goals.
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Pretending to be newly outraged that Donald Trump might do such a thing is like expressing surprise when someone just acquitted of bank robbery on a technicality is arrested the next day robbing another bank. Brazen, sure—but surprising? Not really. The question of whether the Trump campaign illegally conspired with Russia during the election was the subject of a two-year investigation by special counsel Robert Mueller. On July 24, Mueller testified about his findings to Congress, bringing an end to the probe.
The very next day, Trump spoke to the Ukrainian president by phone. Donald Trump now knows precisely what he can get away with. Based on what we know, Congress is right to consider the whistle-blower complaint a serious matter. Their purpose is to gather information within the framework of competence defined by law. A considerable number of the SBU units carry out law enforcement functions linked with defence of national security, fighting terrorism, corruption, organized crime, smuggling, drug selling, economic crimes.
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This dualism needs to be eliminated, by taking away from the SBU functions regarding detective inquiry and pre-trial investigation and other law enforcement powers in the above-mentioned spheres. It should be noted that the reform of the SBU in was intended to move this centaur towards a modern security service. However, after the presidential elections, those documents were rejected, and Law VI from October 7, was passed.
This Law was aimed at bringing a number of laws into compliance with the Constitution after the adoption of the Constitutional Court Judgement of 30 September, , including amendments to the Law on the SBU. Law No. Previously, in accordance with that Article, the Head of the SBU had to regularly inform the Verkhovna Rada, the Presidium of the Verkhovna Rada and its commission on issues of national security and defence on SBU work, the situation with state security, observance of current legislation, protection of human rights and liberties and on other issues.
The SBU is also obliged to answer to formal requests from permanent and temporary parliamentary [Verkhovna Rada] commissions and National Deputies [MPs] according to the procedure established by legislation. In Law No. Thus, Law No. The annual SBU reports or even any open information from these reports, as far as we are aware, are not published. Nor is anything known about the activities of the officials specially appointed by the President to oversee the activities of the SBU.
It seems undoubtedly the case that the SBU functions virtually uncontrolled, or at least the public know nothing about any control. The SBU therefore continues to work according to the law re-worked in for the Viktor Yanukovych regime and all the above directly affects it. Nor were the failings removed of the Law on the SBU which we had frequently written about which meant that some of the actions of SBU employees were unlawful. Although SBU duties include discovering, stopping, investigating and solving crimes falling within SBU competence, as well as detective and criminal investigations into these cases and searching for people in hiding in connection with the crimes Article 24 Item 4 , the Law makes no mention of any right to detain or remand suspects or persons accused of a crime in custody.
The Law on the National Police, just as the previous Law on the Police which was in force until 7 November , regulate this right in great detail. The Law on the SBU has no reference either to the Law on the Police as it does with respect to the procedure for storing, carrying, or using weapons and other special means or to any other legislative acts. However since both detention and remanding in custody are used very widely by the SBU, these are probably regulated in closed departmental instructions.
The lack of regulation of detention and arrest in an open parliamentary act is a violation of the principles of law and can lead to the actions of the SBU being totally uncontrolled. Article 25 Item 5 of the Law gave the SBU the right to have pre-trial investigation units for holding people detained or remanded in custody by SBU bodies. However Law No. Major renovations were carried out in and the unit meets European standards. This unit effectively serves as a temporary detention unit, however some people remanded in custody by a court are held here and not in Lukyanivsk SIZO.
The lack of regulation for detention, arrest and remand in custody at the SBU SIZO is a result of the double role of the SBU whereby it combines the functions of a security service and law enforcement body and leads to illegal activities in this sphere. Nothing, however, is said about the SBU staff providing these persons with evidence of the threat in connection with which such actions are being carried out. Even the usual demonstration of a document identifying the person is not envisaged for the SBU official carrying out such a search.
This is while Article 36 of the Law makes it mandatory for members of the public and officials to carry out the demands of an SBU officers, and disobedience or resistance to legitimate demands carries liability as envisaged by legislation. The Law gives SBU officials the right to not carry out instructions, orders, directives, etc.
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According to Article 35, SBU staff independently take the decision within the framework of their powers and should refuse to carry out any orders, instructions or directives which are in breach of current legislation. They bear disciplinary, administrative or criminal liability for illegal actions or failure to act. Implementation of these provisions of the Law seems problematical since the SBU is a militarized organization which envisages subordination to the orders of those with higher rank, and in the first paragraph of that same Article 10 it is stated that these must be carried out.
For example, the people whom the appeals were about and who had been detained without a court order were suspected of committing offences several months or even several years prior to their detention. In other words, in cases where, according to the current CPC, the detention had to be carried out as per general procedure, namely on the basis of a court order, and not according to the procedure envisaged by Article of the CPC.
There is systematic and widespread violation by SBU officials of the right to legal assistance which is guaranteed by Article 59 of the Constitution and regulated by Article of the CPC. In accordance with paragraph 4 of that article, the official who carries out the detention is obliged to immediately inform the body or institution empowered by the law to provide free legal aid.
In the best instances this notification gets delayed. If a lawyer is invited to provide legal assistance who is not from the Centre for Free Legal Aid, the person is simply not allowed to see the detained person. This is a problem that KHPG lawyers constantly run up against. The SBU constantly carries out repeat extradition arrests of people whom the courts have released.
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This means that a repeat arrest is in accordance with the CPC on condition that the release was carried out on the basis of a court order. However the SBU detains people who have been released by courts and appeal courts although the rulings of the latter are not subject to appeal. Generally speaking, repeat arrests are in violation of Article 5 of the European Convention and are inadmissible. Information about exchanges is limited and scrappy.
Exchanges are carried out in conditions of secrecy and not regulated by any legal procedure. Judging from the statements and the accounts of relatives of those who are being exchanged or were exchanged and agree to provide information, the following picture emerges. The detained person has no choice but to agree to the exchange. Then an agreement is reached with the investigators, the criminal proceedings are terminated, the people released from custody, however SBU officials are waiting for them, put them in a car and take them to an unidentified place where they are held incommunicado under the exchange is carried out.
Sometimes the SBU offers the exchange after the investigation is over during the trial. There have been cases where they detained a person for exchange already after the end of the court proceedings and passing of a sentence most often not linked with deprivation of liberty. We would note that the guilt of those who are being exchanged has often not been proven by the investigators and established by the court. In those cases, we are aware of the suspicions presented are often dubious or unwarranted.
It is difficult to believe in such free will. It is hard to say how their fate as turned out after that.