An unnamed U.S. intelligence official makes a big admission early on in the whistleblower complaint they filed following a July 25 phone call between President Donald Trump and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky.
In recent days, Democrats have focused on the phone call, during which they claim Trump pressured Zelensky to investigate Hunter Biden, the son of Democratic presidential candidate former Vice President Joe Biden.
Previous media accounts have said Biden pressured Ukraine to dismiss a prosecutor who was investigating an energy company that paid Hunter Biden.
The Washington Post linked the call to a July decision to temporarily withhold about $400 million in aid to Ukraine, though the money was paid earlier this month.
On Tuesday, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi announced the start of an impeachment probe into Trump, citing in part the phone call.
The White House released a transcript of the call on Wednesday, and later that day, a copy of the whistleblower’s full complaint was sent to the House and Senate Intelligence Committees.
Then on Thursday, the Democrat-led House Intelligence Committee released the complaint, parts of which are redacted, to the public.
“In the course of my ofﬁcial duties, I have received information from multiple U.S. Government ofﬁcials that the President of the United States is using the power of his ofﬁce to solicit interference from a foreign country in the 2020 U.S. election,” the whistleblower wrote.
“This interference includes, among other things, pressuring a foreign country to investigate one of the President’s main domestic political rivals. The President’s personal lawyer, Mr. Rudolph Giuliani, is a central ﬁgure in this effort. Attorney General Barr appears to be involved as well.”
Those are significant allegations. However, the whistleblower admits he’s recounting much of the evidence secondhand.
“I was not a direct witness to most of the events described,” the complaint reads. “However, I found my colleagues’ accounts of these events to be credible because, in almost all cases, multiple ofﬁcials recounted fact patterns that were consistent with one another. In addition, a variety of information consistent with these private accounts has been reported publicly.”
In addition to information on the call between Trump and Zelensky, the whistleblower makes some claims about an alleged White House cover-up.
“The White House ofﬁcials who told me [information about the call] were deeply disturbed by what had transpired in the phone call,” the whistleblower said. “They told me that there was already a ‘discussion ongoing’ with White House lawyers about how to treat the call because of the likelihood, in the ofﬁcials’ retelling, that they had witnessed the President abuse his ofﬁce for personal gain.”
“In the days following the phone call, I learned from multiple U.S. ofﬁcials that senior White House ofﬁcials had intervened to ‘lock down’ all records of the phone call, especially the ofﬁcial word-for-word transcript of the call that was produced — as is customary — by the White House Situation Room,” the whistleblower added.
“White House ofﬁcials told me that they were ‘directed’ by White House lawyers to remove the electronic transcript from the computer system in which such transcripts are typically stored for coordination, ﬁnalization, and distribution to Cabinet-level ofﬁcials.”
White House press secretary Stephanie Grisham responded to the release of the complaint by characterizing it as “nothing more than a collection of third-hand accounts of events and cobbled-together press clippings — all of which shows nothing improper,” according to The New York Times.
Trump “has nothing to hide,” she said, and has been transparent throughout the entire process.
In a tweet Thursday, Trump decried Democrats’ efforts “TO DESTROY THE REPUBLICAN PARTY.”
THE DEMOCRATS ARE TRYING TO DESTROY THE REPUBLICAN PARTY AND ALL THAT IT STANDS FOR. STICK TOGETHER, PLAY THEIR GAME, AND FIGHT HARD REPUBLICANS. OUR COUNTRY IS AT STAKE!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) September 26, 2019
“THE DEMOCRATS ARE TRYING TO DESTROY THE REPUBLICAN PARTY AND ALL THAT IT STANDS FOR. STICK TOGETHER, PLAY THEIR GAME, AND FIGHT HARD REPUBLICANS. OUR COUNTRY IS AT STAKE!” Trump tweeted.
Truth and Accuracy
We are committed to truth and accuracy in all of our journalism. Read our editorial standards.