Whistleblower Complaint Alleges Trump Officials Unduly Concealed Transcript Of Call With Ukraine
Rep. Adam Schiff, the chairman of the House Select Committee on Intelligence, released documents relating to an official complaint made by a whistleblower within the U.S. intelligence community.
Schiff, according to a press release he issued out on Thursday morning, called it a “travesty” that the complaint was withheld from Congress for such a long period of time. Under ordinary circumstances, when the Inspector General deems such a complaint as “urgent,” it requires congressional notification and oversight — yet it took several weeks for the complaint to reach Congress, and only after the matter became publicly known through heavy reporting.
“This complaint should never have been withheld from Congress. It exposed serious wrongdoing, and was found both urgent and credible by the Inspector General,” Schiff said.
He added that the complaint seems to be “corroborated by the call record released” by the administration on Wednesday, which detailed portions of President Donald Trump’s phone conversations with Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelensky.
According to the complaint itself, the whistleblower alleged 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.”
The whistleblower noted they were not “a direct witness” to the phone conversation itself, but “found my colleagues’ accounts of these events to be credible because, in almost all cases, multiple officials recounted fact patterns that were consistent with one another.” They also said a “variety of information consistent with these private accounts has been reported publicly,” adding weight to their complaint.
Trump allegedly pressured “a foreign country to investigate one of the President’s main domestic political rivals,” the complaint stated.
“Over the past four months, more than half a dozen U.S. officials” have informed the whistleblower of “various facts related to this effort,” they said. The letter further alleged that Trump “used much of his call with Volodymyr Zelensky “to advance his personal interests.”
“Namely, he sought to pressure the Ukrainian leader to take actions to help the President’s 2020 reelection bid,” they added.
Trump downgraded the admin’s delegation to Zelenskiy’s inauguration, and it was “made clear” Trump wouldn’t meet him until he could see how the Ukrainian prez “chose to act,” acc to whistleblower pic.twitter.com/MvpK9b5WYx
— Miriam Elder (@MiriamElder) September 26, 2019
The complaint also suggested that efforts were made to conceal the conversation between the two presidents after it had occurred, using an electronic security system that is typically reserved for high-level classified information. A transcript of the call was deleted from most servers it appeared on, the whistleblower stated, and exists only on the high-security system.
Officials from the White House “told me that they were ‘directed’ by White House lawyers to remove the electronic transcript from the computer system” that isn’t at the same classified level it previously was at, the whistleblower alleged.
“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 added.