Whistleblower Complaint Takeaways: More Than A Phone Call

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FILE - In this Sept. 9, 2019 file photo, President Donald Trump, left, shakes hands with Attorney General William Barr, right, as he takes the podium to present the Medal of Valor to six police officers for stopping a mass shooter in Dayton, Ohio, and Heroic Commendations to five civilians for their heroism during the mass shooting in El Paso, Texas, in the East Room of the White House in Washington. In offering Ukraine’s president the help of Attorney General William Barr in investigating rival Joe Biden, President Donald Trump is once again immersing the nation’s top law enforcement officer in the political fray. It’s a role Barr has seemed to embrace since taking command of the Justice Department in February. (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik)

WASHINGTON (AP) — The phone call is just a start.

A whistleblower complaint about President Donald Trump’s dealings with the new president of Ukraine lays out concerns about multiple actions taken by the Trump White House and its allies that suggest the president was using his office “to solicit interference from a foreign country” to boost his reelection prospects. The complaint, written by an unidentified member of the U.S. intelligence community, was released Thursday. The House Intelligence Committee grilled the acting U.S. spy chief on details of the redacted complaint.

A few key takeaways from the complaint and the hearing:

IT’S ABOUT FAR MORE THAN JUST THAT CALL

The complaint discusses a July 25 phone call in which Trump prodded Ukraine’s Volodymyr Zelenskiy to work with Trump’s attorney general, William Barr, and Rudy Giuliani, Trump’s personal lawyer, to dig up dirt on the son of Democratic rival Joe Biden.

But it goes well beyond the call. For example, the complaint details how Ukrainian leaders met with the U.S. special representative for Ukraine negotiations and others on how to “navigate” the demands made by Trump. Giuliani met with Ukraine advisers in August as a “direct follow-up” to the call.

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A COVER-UP IS ALLEGED

The complaint says that in the days after the July 25 phone call , the whistleblower learned that senior White House officials had intervened to “lock down” all records of the call, especially the rough transcript produced by note-takers in the White House Situation Room.

White House officials told the whistleblower they were “directed” by White House lawyers to remove the electronic transcript from the computer system where such records are typically stored.

“This set of actions underscored to me that White House officials understood the gravity of what had transpired in the call,” the report said.

The officials raised concerns that the transcript was moved to a separate computer system. White House officials told the whistleblower that “this was ‘not the first time’ under this Administration that a Presidential transcript was placed into this codeword-level system solely for the purpose of protecting politically sensitive — rather than national security sensitive — information,” the complaint said.

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RUDY, RUDY, RUDY

“The President’s personal lawyer, Mr. Rudolph Giuliani, is a central figure in this effort.”

The report says that many U.S. officials told the whistleblower that they were deeply concerned about Giuliani’s efforts to circumvent the national security decision-making process to engage Ukrainian officials and relay messages back and forth.

In the call, Trump prodded Zelenskiy to work with Giuliani and Barr to investigate Biden and said that Giuliani would be calling him.

The whistleblower said in the complaint that Giuliani traveled to Spain in early August to meet with one of Zelenskiy’s advisers and that U.S. officials characterized the meeting to the whistleblower as a “direct follow-up” to Trump’s call.

The complaint also states that several U.S. officials told the whistleblower that Giuliani had privately reached out to other advisers to the Ukrainian leader.

In an interview with The Associated Press this week, Giuliani said that he had spoken to a Ukrainian official at the request of Trump’s State Department.

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CAN’T EXPLAIN THE MONEY

The whistleblower said the National Security Council and Office of Management and Budget didn’t know why Trump held up millions of dollars in aid for Ukraine.

A few days before his call with Zelenskiy, Trump ordered his staff to freeze nearly $400 million in aid to Ukraine. The president said he did so to fight corruption and urge European nations to do more to help Ukraine.

The whistleblower alleges in the complaint that in two separate meetings in July, OMB officials said Trump had personally directed the money to be frozen but that they “were unaware of a policy rationale” for the decision.

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THE WHISTLEBLOWER MUST BE PROTECTED

Joseph Maguire, the acting national intelligence director, repeatedly defended the whistleblower during Thursday’s hearing and insisted the person would be protected if that person wanted to appear before Congress. Maguire said he does not know the whistleblower’s identity.

It was a stark contrast from Trump’s characterization in a tweet last week that the person was “highly partisan.”

Maguire said the U.S. “must protect those who demonstrate courage to report alleged wrongdoing.”

“I think the whistleblower did the right thing,” he said at one point.

Maguire also told members of the House committee that he was working with the whistleblower’s lawyers to ensure they could appear before Congress and he pledged not to take any action to block their testimony.

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PICK YOUR SPIN

The House Intelligence Committee chairman, Rep. Adam Schiff, D-Calif., and other Democrats played up the urgency of the complaint and allegations that Maguire delayed it by going first to the White House and Justice Department before handing it over to Congress. Schiff said the account of Trump’s conversation with Ukraine’s leader detailed by the whistleblower “reads like a classic organized crime shakedown.”

Republicans zeroed in the fact that that whistleblower’s account was based on secondhand information from other White House and administration officials. They dismissed Democrats’ concerns as conspiracy theories.

Trump tweeted his own review after the hearing: “Adam Schiff has zero credibility. Another fantasy to hurt the Republican Party!”

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9 COMMENTS

  1. This afternoon the RNC called on Joe Biden to release the transcripts of his calls to Ukraine pertaining to the money laundering scheme to his son Hunter Biden.
    Republican National Committee (RNC) Chairwoman Ronna McDaniel released the following statement in response to Joe Biden’s baseless call for impeachment:
    “First it was the Russia hoax. Now it’s the Ukraine hoax.”
    “Once again, Joe Biden has shown he is just as extreme as the rest of the 2020 Democrats who are desperate to bring President Trump down. Instead of backing a baseless impeachment effort, Biden should be answering for the only scandal that exists: Why a corrupt Ukrainian company paid his son $50,000 a month to lobby the Obama-Biden administration, and why Biden threatened the Ukrainians if they failed to fire a prosecutor investigating the company.”
    “Now that the President has authorized the release of the transcript of his call with President Zelensky, we call on Biden to release the transcripts of his calls as Vice President with Ukrainian and Chinese leaders while his son was conducting shady business deals in those countries.”
    Transparency amongst elected officials is always a win for “we the people,” so why would anyone not be all for both Trump and Biden releasing transcripts of important political business? We need to know what our politicians are up to behind closed doors so we as voters can hold them accountable for their actions, refusing to re-elect corrupt individuals who seek to strip the average American voter of their voice and power.
    If Biden is afraid that what is uncovered will destroy his campaign, then it’s likely that’s exactly what’s going to happen when the truth comes out. And make no mistake. The truth always comes out sooner or later.

    • Did you think all that up by yourself or did you get help from Roger Ailes and the Deep State? After all, Trump didn’t make the call, John McCain’s poodle did. And Crazy Uncle Rudy didn’t run to Ukraine to extort help for his Dear Leader by getting dirt on the Bidens, that was Charles Manson. And AG Barr- he’s really Santa Clutz. And ‘ferfel’ is really Tricky Yoni…

    • A diversion smokescreen…the schmuck’s been caught with his hand deep, deep in a corrupt, security breech cookie jar, and Trump’s usual BS may just not work here…IY”H

      And….I certainly ain’t no ferfel!

      Yoni

    • stusim mit lakshin (not farfel) Biden is a private Citizen, if the Republicans think he did something wrong let them investigate him. Trump is the CEO of the FBI CIA Justice Dept.etc.

  2. Isn’t the DOJ part of the executive branch of the federal government? If he believes Biden committed a crime why didn’t Barr just order an investigation and get Ukraine’s cooperation thru normal channels?

  3. Lol. Democrats are calling this foreigners meddling in our election haha.

    No one messed with votes.
    No one spread propaganda during the election.
    No one interfered with people trying to go vote.

    Trump just asked a foreign leader if its true that Biden cheated in his country. Theres nothing wrong with that. And it has nothing to do with America voting even if it does benefit him politically to have or publicize the information he gets, no interfering woth votes whatsoever.

    Ever since Russia collusion fake news democrats invented a new meaning to interfering with elections, instead of voter fraud etc they think its now forbidden to ask a foreign country for evidence of crimes committed in their country by a competing politician. Either way, even with the democrat’s newly invented ideas of voter fraud, it’s still not wrongdoing until someone uses the information obtained in some way, which hasn’t happened either..

    This entire impeachment ordeal is corruption by the democrats and shows how stupid and thoughtless people are in not seeing the obvious: there is nothing to impeach for whatsoever.

    Poor democrats will only have another self-made disappointment to cry over when this all passes.

  4. Rudy warned Democrats, “They have walked into a trap.”
    Rudy dropped this bomb on the Biden Crime Family, “I have the records of $3 million payments laundered to Biden’s son. I have the records. I have the dates. It went from Ukraine, to Latvia to Cyprus, Cyprus to him. That’s called evidence of guilty knowledge… He got $1.5 billion from China! $1.5 Billion!… They bought the Vice President of the United States!”
    Rudy then went on to explain his role in the Ukrainian investigation. They’re not going to intimidate me! I never realized the depth of the corruption! I never knew the depth of this corruption. It’s massive, it’s shocking. And if I played a role in getting that out I did a service to my country and I’m proud of it. And everything I did was legal and defensible.”
    Laura continued to interrupt Rudy throughout the interview.
    Rudy then broke this development. He was investigating Ukraine because the Ukrainian prosecutor installed by Biden dismissed the case on the organization that was collecting false information on Donald Trump, on Paul Manafort and feeding it to the Democratic National Committee. “That organization was run by George Soros who then hired the crooked FBI agent who is now working for George Soros.”

  5. Trump knows how to use the cloud of these nonsense to make real progress on other topics that’s really matters to the voters, while the media looks the other side. so this is good for the US and will ultimately help Trump getting re-elected.

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