A whistleblower complaint made public Thursday revealed that the White House took steps to hide President Trump’s phone call with the Ukrainian president urging him to work with Rudy Giuliani -- and it wasn’t the first time.
A redacted version of the “urgent” whistleblower report that triggered the House impeachment inquiry was made public Thursday. The complaint shows that the whistleblower reported the call, which was made public Wednesday, and revealed that the Trump administration subsequently took actions to hide the content of the call on a special computer intended for sensitive national security information. It wasn’t the first time that the administration hid politically sensitive information on that computer, the complaint said.
Here is what the complaint says:
- The complaint says that the whistleblower received “credible” information from multiple government officials that Trump was “using the power of his office to solicit interference from a foreign country in the 2020 US election.”
- The “interference includes, among other things, pressuring a foreign country to investigate one of the President’s main political rivals,” the complaint said.
- “The President’s personal lawyer, Mr. Rudolph Giuliani, is a central figure in this effort. Attorney General Barr appears to be involved as well.”
- The complaint describes Trump’s July 25 call with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, on which Trump “sought to pressure the Ukrainian leader to take actions to help the President’s 2020 reelection bid.”
- On the call, Trump urged Zelensky to investigate former Vice President Joe Biden and his son, and assist in “uncovering that allegations of Russian interference in the 2016 US presidential election originated in Ukraine.”
- After the call, the complaint says that White House officials “intervened to ‘lock down’ all records of the phone call.”
- White House officials were “’directed’ by White House lawyers to remove the electronic transcript from the computer system in which such transcripts are typically stored… Instead, the transcript was loaded into a separate electronic system that is otherwise used to store and handle classified information… 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.”
- Later, the complaint says that Trump Ukraine envoy Kurt Volker visited Kiev and met with Zelensky and advised him on how to “navigate” the demands Trump made of him. The complaint also mentions that GIuliani met with Ukrainian officials to discuss the “cases” they had discussed. The complaint also details friction between the State Department and Giuliani due to “differing messages” the president’s lawyer was sending.
Footnote suggests Trump hid other politically sensitive info:
In a classified addendum to the complaint, the whistleblower revealed that White House officials said this was “not the first time” under Trump that a presidential transcript was “placed into this codeword-level system solely for the purpose of protecting politically sensitive information.”
The addendum does not add any details and much of the addendum is redacted.