Whistleblower alleges White House coverup
The whistleblower says he or she learned from US officials that President Trump instructed Vice President Mike Pence to cancel planned travel to Ukraine to attend President Volodymyr Zelensky's inauguration in May.
Instead he sent Secretary of Energy Rick Perry to lead the delegation, according to the declassified complaint.
The whistleblower also said he or she learned from the US officials that Trump did not want to meet himself with Zelensky until Trump saw how Zelensky "chose to act" in office, the complaint says.
In the days following the July phone call, the whistleblower learned from multiple US 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. This set of actions underscored to me that White House officials understood the gravity of what had transpired in the call.”
The whistleblower continued:
“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.
Instead the transcript was loaded into a separate electronic system that is otherwise used to store and handle classified information of any 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 wrote that the July 25 call — which he describes details similar to the transcript released by the White House on Wednesday — left White House officials “disturbed by what had transpired.”
The complaint notes White House lawyers were “already in discussion” 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.”
President Trump tweeted just after the whistleblower's complaint against him was released.
The whistleblower complaint centers on concern that President Trump was using his power to “solicit interference from a foreign country” into the election.
The complainant says the President’s personal lawyer, Rudy Giuliani, “is a central figure in this effort.”
The House Intelligence Committee has released the declassified whistleblower complaint regarding President Trump’s phone call with Ukraine president Zelensky.
You can read it here.
The whistleblower's complaint about President Trump's communications with Ukraine has been declassified and could be released as soon as this morning, three sources told CNN.
We don't know exactly what time that could happen, but these are the planned events we're watching today:
- 9 a.m. ET: Acting Director of National Intelligence Joseph Maguire will testify before the House Intelligence Committee
- 10:45 a.m. ET: Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi will hold her weekly news conference.
- 11:30 a.m. ET: House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy will hold his weekly news conference.
- 1:30 p.m. ET: President Trump arrives at the White House after traveling back from New York City. He often takes questions when he's on the White House lawn.
Acting Director of National Intelligence Joseph Maguire — nearly two months after taking over as head of the intelligence agency — is facing intense scrutiny amid a widening controversy surrounding his handling of a whistleblower complaint regarding President Trump.
Maguire is set to testify before the House Intelligence Committee at 9 a.m. ET today regarding the complaint.
Maguire and Intelligence Community Inspector General Michael Atkinson are scheduled to go behind closed doors with the Senate Intelligence Committee as well, according to a source familiar with the plans.
More than half the US House of Representatives have now said they support the impeachment investigation into President Trump.
The numbers: There are at least 217 House Democrats – according to a CNN count – who publicly stated support for impeachment proceedings. Rep. Justin Amash of Michigan, a former Republican who has since become an independent, has also called for an impeachment investigation, bringing the total number of representatives to 218, or just over half of the 435-member chamber.
Why this matters: Reaching the halfway mark on this issue is a significant development as a majority of the House would be needed to vote to impeach the President in order to send the process to the Senate.
But remember: CNN’s count includes many Democrats who say they support an impeachment investigation but are still waiting for the results of the probe before deciding whether to finally vote to impeach Trump.
Even if the House could pass the vote, it likely would go nowhere in the Republican-controlled Senate, one of many reasons the issue has been politically divisive among Democrats and a large part of why House Speaker Nancy Pelosi had for months avoided calling Democratic investigations an impeachment inquiry.