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- Acting Director of National Intelligence Joseph Maguire, who reviewed the initial complaint, says hes not been asked by the White House to ascertain and turn over the whistleblowers identity.
- The whistleblower has some indication of an arguable political bias, according to a memo released the Justice Departments Office of Legal Counsel but also noted that the complaint was credible.
- A tentative agreement has been put in place for the whistleblower to meet with lawmakers behind closed doors though that depends on his lawyer getting security clearance, according to CNN.
- Trump said that the transcript of that call shows how wrong the whistleblower actually was about what had transpired.
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The Inspector General Suggested Whistleblower Concerns Were About Multiple Acts
From CNN’s Manu Raju
The intelligence inspector general suggested to the House intelligence committee today that the whistleblower had concerns about multiple actions, CNN is told by sources familiar with the briefing.
The inspector general did not say specifically all the acts of concern involved the president, the sources said. One source said the inspector general referenced a sequence of events and alleged actions that took place.
Another source disputed that the inspector general provided substantive details regarding the whistleblower claim.
CNN had earlier reported, citing a source familiar with the case, that the complaint was prompted by concerns over a phone call between the president and a foreign leader.
Inspector General Michael Atkinson was pressed for details but was mostly resistant to the queries, saying he is not allowed to provide details of the substance of the complaint because he was not authorized to do so, the sources said. He is discussing the process for his handling of the whistleblower’s concerns.
The New York Times was first to report there was more than one action at the heart of the whistleblower complaint.
Clarification: This post has been updated to clarify that the “multiple concerns” may not all pertain to the President.
No Policy Rationale Behind Aid Withdrawal
Neither the National Security Council nor the Office of Management and Budget knew why Trump froze millions of dollars in aid for Ukraine, according to the complaint.
Two separate meetings were allegedly held in July on the matter in which, at some point, Trump ordered that the money be suspended. The money was ultimately frozen mere days before the call with Zelenskiy.
Neither the OMB nor the NSC staff knew why this instruction had been issued, the complaint reads. During interagency meetings on 23 July and 26 July, OMB officials again stated explicitly that the instruction to suspend this assistance had come directly from the President, but they still were unaware of a policy rationale.
The nearly $400 million in critical military aid was intended to help Ukraine battle Russian-backed separatists.
The conversation between Trump and Zelenskiy raised questions of whether the U.S. president was using the aid as leverage to get Ukraine to help him investigate Biden.
Trump has denied that charge but acknowledged that he blocked the funds, which have since been released.
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Document: Read The Whistle
Here is the complaint filed by an intelligence officer about President Trumps interactions with the leader of Ukraine. It was released with a letter from the inspector general of the intelligence community.
- Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence
- United States House of Representatives
Dear Chairman Burr and Chairman Schiff:
I am reporting an urgent concern in accordance with the procedures outlined in 50 U.S.C. §3033. This letter is UNCLASSIFIED when separated from the attachment.
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. 1This interference includes, among other things, pressuring a foreign country to investigate one of the Presidents main domestic political rivals. The Presidents personal lawyer, Mr. Rudolph Giuliani, is a central figure in this effort. Attorney General Barr appears to be involved as well.
I am deeply concerned that the actions described below constitute a serious or flagrant problem, abuse, or violation of law or Executive Order that does not include differences of opinions concerning public policy matters, consistent with the definition of an urgent concern in 50 U.S.C. §3033. I am therefore fulfilling my duty to report this information, through proper legal channels, to the relevant authorities.
Ukraine And The Bidens
In 2014, the Obama administration was trying to provide diplomatic support to the post-2014 Ukrainian revolutionYatsenyuk government in Ukraine, and then-vice president Joe Biden was at the forefront of those efforts. Bidens son Hunter Biden joined the board of directors of Burisma Holdings, a Ukrainian energy company, on April 18, 2014. Hunter, then an attorney with Boies Schiller Flexner, was hired to help Burisma with corporate governancebest practices, and a consulting firm in which Hunter is a partner was also retained by Burisma. In a December 2015 interview, Joe Biden said he had never discussed Hunters work at Burisma. Joe Biden traveled to Ukrainian capital Kyiv on April 21, 2014, and urged the Ukrainian government to reduce its dependence on Russia for supplies of natural gas. He discussed how the United States could help provide technical expertise for expanding domestic production of natural gas.
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Details From Intel Inspector General Meeting With The House Intelligence Committee Released
From CNN’s Jim Acosta
The inspector general for the intelligence community indicated to lawmakers that he did not agree with the administration’s assertion that details in the whistleblower complaint should be withheld from Congress, according to a source familiar with a briefing held with House Intel members Thursday.
Inspector general for the intelligence community Michael Atkinson explained that he could not disclose the details in the complaint as the Justice Department stated it was outside the jurisdiction of the Director of National Intelligence and therefore outside his jurisdiction.
The inspector general also explained that “privileges” were being asserted by the administration, leaving lawmakers with the impression that the White House was directly involved in blocking the information from being turned over to Congress.
White House Tried To Lock Down Call Transcript
In the complaint, the whistleblower says: 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 the 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.
About a dozen White House officials reportedly listened in to the call between Trump and Zelenskiy.
Its alleged that White House lawyers ordered an electronic transcript of that call wiped from a computer system.
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, the document reads.
WATCH: Pelosi accuses Trump of covering up effort to pressure Ukraine
Instead, the transcript was loaded into a separate electronic system that is otherwise used to store and handle classified information of an especially sensitive nature. One White House official described this act as an abuse of this electronic system because the call did not contain anything remotely sensitive from a national security perspective.
The whistleblower said it is unclear whether similar measures were taken to block records of the call, such as handwritten notes by those who listened in.
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Place In The Russia Investigation Counter
In February 2020, United States attorney John Durham was appointed to lead an investigation into the origins of the Mueller inquiry. It was reported that the investigation was focusing on former CIA director and Trump critic John Brennan and whether he had mishandled evidence during the early stages of the inquiry into Russian meddling in the 2016 elections.Mick Mulvaney linked Durham’s investigation to the Ukraine scandal, stating that Durham had sought help from Ukraine and interviewed Ukrainian citizens. The Durham inquiry has been described as an “inquiry into its own Russia investigation”. and “investigating the investigators” of the Russian interference.
How The White House Handles Trump’s Calls With Foreign Leaders
From CNN’s Kaitlan Collins and Kevin Liptak
Last April, CNN was first to report that the White House had suspended the practice of publishing public summaries of President Trump’s phone calls with foreign leaders, though sources said readouts continued to be released internally.
The White House didnt publish readouts, but would confirm that the calls took place after they were reported by foreign media, though officials rarely elaborated on what was said.
But that suspension has shifted in recent months. The White House has started releasing readouts of the Presidents formal calls with leaders once again including several which are now under scrutiny after a communication between Trump and a foreign leader prompted a whistleblower complaint that is now at the center of a dispute between the director of national intelligence and Congress. It’s not clear whether that communication was a phone call.
Hes recently spoken to…
- British Prime Minister Boris Johnson
- Russian President Vladimir Putin
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Memorandum Record Of The July 25 Phone Call
The first whistleblower’s report said that “senior White House officials had intervened to ‘lock down’ all records of the phone call”, an act that indicated those officials “understood the gravity of what had transpired”. They performed the “lock down” by placing the record of the call on a top-secret server intended for the most highly classified material, under the direction of John Eisenberg. It was later confirmed that on orders from National Security Council attorneys, the call with Ukraine was moved from TNet, the regular NSC computer system, to the top-secret codewordNICE system, reserved for closely guarded secrets. On September 27, it was reported that records of calls with the leaders of Saudi Arabia and Russia had also been stored on NICE.
On September 27, the White House acknowledged that a record of the call between Trump and Zelenskyy was sealed in a highly classified system, as per the advice of National Security Council lawyers.
On the same day, it was reported that the records of Trump’s Oval Office meeting with Russian officials in May 2017 had been unusually closely held, with distribution limited to a few officials. White House advisor Kellyanne Conway said the procedure for handling records of Trump’s calls with world leaders had been tightened early in 2017 because of leaks to the press about his conversations with the president of Mexico and the prime minister of Australia.
Withholding Of Ukrainian Military Aid
During an October 17 press conference, White House acting chief of staff Mick Mulvaney said he “was involved with the process” of the freezing of military aid. Mulvaney gave his account of why Trump decided to hold back military aid to Ukraine. One, Trump felt the other European countries were not doing enough. Two, Trump felt Ukraine was a “corrupt place” which included having “corruption related to the DNC server” with regard to “what happened in 2016”. As a result, reporter Jonathan Karl told Mulvaney “what you just described is a quid pro quo. It is: ‘Funding will not flow unless the investigation into the Democratic server happens as well.'” Mulvaney replied to Karl: “We do that all the time with foreign policy … Get over it. There’s going to be political influence in foreign policy.” Later in the press conference, Mulvaney quoted a third reason on why military aid was frozenthey had yet to cooperate with a U.S. Justice Department investigation into alleged Ukrainian interference in the 2016 U.S. presidential election.
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White House Along With Doj Involved In Advising Director Of National Intelligence Not Share Whistleblower Complaint
From CNN’s Pamela Brown, Evan Perez and Kevin Liptak
The White House and the Department of Justice have advised the nation’s top intelligence agency that the controversial complaint is outside intelligence activities as covered by laws governing intelligence whistleblowers, according to three sources familiar with the matter.
The revelation is the first known evidence of the White House’s involvement.
Speaking to reporters on Thursday, House Intelligence Chairman Adam Schiff said he didn’t know whether the White House was involved.
The Centerpiece Of The Complaint Is A Description Of Trumps July Call With Zelensky
After that brief introduction, the whistleblower launches into a detailed description of Trumps now-infamous July 25 call with the new Ukrainian president, Volodymyr Zelensky.
The whistleblower did not hear the call or review the transcript, but he or she did receive a readout of it and talk to numerous White House officials about it and those White House officials were deeply disturbed about what happened, because they had witnessed Trump abuse his office for personal gain.
The White House officials who told me this information were deeply disturbed by what had transpired in the phone call. 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.
Some Trump defenders have seized on the whistleblowers lack of firsthand knowledge about the call but the criticism doesnt really hold water, since the White House released their own internal document summarizing the call Wednesday, and it closely matches the whistleblowers description.
The whistleblower alleges what we now know from that document to be true:
Again, all this is not even disputed at this point. Here, for instance, is Trump requesting Zelensky work with Barr to investigate Biden and his son, per the official summary of the call.
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The Whistleblower Complaint That Set Off An Impeachment Inquiry Against President Trump Is Released
Breaking: The House Intelligence Committee has released the declassified whistleblower complaint at the center of a hearing today with the nations highest ranking intelligence official.
The whistleblower complaint that set off an impeachment inquiry against President Trump is released.
at the center of a hearing today with the nations highest ranking intelligence official.This complaint is a roadmap for our investigation, and provides significant information for the Committee to follow up on with other witnesses and documents. And it is corroborated by the call record released yesterday, House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam B. Schiff said in a statement.
Joseph Maguire, the acting director of national intelligence, will appear before Congress as the first witness in the Democrats formal impeachment inquiry of President Trump.
Communications With Other Governments
On October 1, 2019, it was reported that the transcript of a call with Australian prime minister Scott Morrison had been placed on the same top-secret server as the other transcripts. Trump was reported to have requested Morrison’s aid in William Barr’s investigation of the Mueller inquiry. Trump’s request focused on the origins of the Mueller inquiry as a conversation between Australia’s former foreign minister Alexander Downer and Trump campaign team member George Papadopoulos led to the investigation. The Australian government confirmed the call had taken place and that Morrison had articulated to the President that “the Australian Government has always been ready to assist and cooperate with efforts that help shed further light on the matters under investigation,” but did not elaborate on what, if any, assistance had been offered. In a letter to William Barr dated May 28, Joe Hockey, Australia’s ambassador to the U.S., pledged that the Australian government would “use its best endeavours” to support Barr’s investigation. Hockey later rejected claims that Downer had been part of a conspiracy among intelligence agencies around the world to prevent Trump’s election and undermine his eventual presidency.
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House Democrat Says Justice Department Has Helped Withhold The Whistleblower’s Complaint
House Intelligence Committee Chair Adam Schiff said that the Department of Justice has helped withhold the whistleblower’s complaint but said he did not know if the White House was also involved.
“We do know that the Department of Justice has been involved in the decision to withhold that information from Congress,” he said. “We do not know because we cannot get an answer to the question about whether the White House is also involved in preventing this information from coming to Congress.”
He continued: We do not have the complaint, we do not know whether the press reports are accurate or inaccurate about the contents of that complaint.
Whistleblower Claimed That Trump Abused His Office And That White House Officials Tried To Cover It Up
The whistleblower complaint at the heart of the burgeoning controversy over President Trumps call with the Ukrainian president claims not only that Trump misused his office for personal gain and endangered national security, but also that unidentified White House officials tried to keep it a secret even within the government.
In seven stark, carefully worded pages, the unidentified whistleblower alleged that the commander in chief pushed his foreign counterpart to investigate Democratic presidential contender Joe Biden and his son Hunter Biden, and that senior White House officials then tried to lock down records related to the matter.
The pressure on the Ukrainian leader was applied in a phone call July 25 between Trump and President Volodymyr Zelensky, the whistleblower alleged, an exchange that turned so politically problematic that White House lawyers directed other officials to remove the electronic transcript of the conversation from the computer system where it was stored.
The transcript, the whistleblower alleged, was then loaded onto a separate system meant for highly classified information. And according to White House officials who informed the whistleblower, that was not the first time a transcript was put there because of concerns about politics rather than national security, the complaint alleged.
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