House Intelligence Committee releases whistleblower report on Trump-Zelensky call
- Author: Sonia Alvarado Sep 27, 2019,
Sep 27, 2019, 0:35
Joseph Maguire, the acting director of national intelligence, unequivocally disputed a Washington Post report published Wednesday that he threatened to resign if the White House blocked him from testifying candidly about his handling of a whistleblower complaint concerning President Trump.
House Intelligence Chairman Adam Schiff, a California Democrat, started the hearing by accusing Trump of betraying his oath of office and compromising United States national security for Trump's "personal, political benefit", referring to the conduct outlined in the call transcript released Wednesday.
Members of the House and Senate intelligence committees were allowed to see the complaint on Wednesday.
President Trump denied the allegations, saying it was a proper call, though admitted that he mentioned Joe Biden in the call but did not put any pressure on Zelensky.
According to their complaint, the whistleblower reported hearing from White House officials that the president's phone call with Zelenskiy "was "not the first time" under this administration that a presidential transcript was placed into this codeword level system exclusively for the objective of protecting politically sensitive - rather than national security sensitive - information". "I look forward to the fact that the acting director of national intelligence will be with the Intel Committee tomorrow, and the inspector general. for the intelligence community will be there tomorrow", Blunt said.
Lawmakers have not been told the identity of the whistleblower or where the complainant works in the government. This person filed a complaint about alleged presidential wrongdoing with his/her inspector general, going by the book.
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The complaint first details the telephone call, in which Mr. Trump asks Mr. Zelensky to investigate both Mr. Biden, a leading contender for the 2020 Democratic presidential nomination, and a Democratic National Committee computer server that Mr. Trump believed was in Ukraine.
The whistleblower said this "was not the first time" that a presidential transcript was placed into a "codeword-level system exclusively for the goal of protecting politically sensitive - rather than national security sensitive - information".
"Multiple White House officials with direct knowledge of the call informed me that, after an initial exchange of pleasantries, the President used the remainder of the call to advance his personal interests", the whistleblower complaint said.
The House hearing will be watched closely in a capital roiling after House Democrats reached a new consensus this week about moving ahead with an impeachment inquiry - although no one knows what that may mean in practical terms or whether it will bring real consequences for Trump.
That is likely to raise questions about just what other information might be so protected relating to Trump's other conversations with foreign leaders.
"I am not familiar with any prior instances where a whistle-blower complaint touched on such complicated and sensitive issues, including executive privilege".
Republicans accused Democrats of playing politics.
Trump on Tuesday admitted to temporarily withholding almost $400 million in military aid to Ukraine meant to ward off Russian aggression, but said he did so because he wished other countries to help with aid to Ukraine.