A White House official who listened in on President Donald Trump’s July call with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky characterized the conversation as “crazy,” “frightening” and was described as “shaken” by the call, according to a memo written by the whistleblower behind the recent intelligence community report about the conversation flagged to Congress.
The memo, a source familiar with the whistleblower report told CNN, was turned over to Inspector General Michael Atkinson who submitted it to Congress.
The New York Times first reported the existence of the memo.
CNN previously reported that in the hours and days after the Ukrainian President signed-off from the call, nervous word spread among national security aides about the contents of the July 25 call, an early show of worry that Trump’s request for an investigation into Joe Biden was far from the “perfect” conversation he now insists transpired.
The scramble and fallout from the call, described by six people familiar with it, parallels and expands upon details described in the whistleblower complaint. The anxiety and internal concern reflect a phone conversation that deeply troubled national security professionals, even as Trump now insists there was nothing wrong with how he conducted himself. And it shows an ultimately unsuccessful effort to contain the tumult by the administration’s lawyers.
At least one National Security Council official alerted the White House’s national security lawyers about the concerns, three sources familiar with the matter said. Those same lawyers would later order the transcript of the call moved to a highly classified server typically reserved for code-word classified material.
A spokesman for the inspector general of the intelligence community declined to comment. Mark Zaid, an attorney for the whistleblower, also did not respond to a request for comment.
CNN’s Pamela Brown, Jeremy Diamond, Kaitlan Collins and Kevin Liptak contributed to this report.