President Donald Trump’s call with foreign leaders, particularly the Ukrainian president, is the focus of a whistleblower complaint to the director of national intelligence inspector general, ABC News has learned from several sources.
A White House record of the phone call with Ukraine’s Volodymyr Zelensky, which took place in late July, shows Trump called the Ukrainian president to “congratulate him on his recent election.”
But a more detailed readout from Zelensky’s office reveals that the two leaders also discussed “investigations into corruption cases that have hampered interaction between Ukraine and the USA.”
Rudy Giuliani, Trump’s personal lawyer, has been calling on Ukrainian officials lately to look into Joe Biden’s diplomatic efforts in the country as well as whether his son benefited financially from them.
The exact details of the conversation remain unclear, The Washington Post writes, although it is familiar that the phone call included a “promise” made by President Trump. It was, however, so alarming that an intelligence official went to the inspector general of the intelligence community, the outlet adds.
Democrats are already investigating the call, trying to determine whether Trump sought to influence the Ukrainian government into investigating Biden and his son and helping Trump’s 2020 re-election campaign.
Inspector general Michael Atkinson testified before the House Intelligence Committee Thursday, but during the entire testimony behind closed doors, he declined to divulge the content of the complaint, saying he was not authorized to do so.
“He was being excruciatingly careful about the language he used,” a person familiar with the briefing said on condition of anonymity.
Atkinson made clear that he believes the complaint was an “urgent concern” as well as that it stemmed from multiple conversations.
Intelligence officials have refused to share the complaint with the committee, risking legal action by the panel. The committee’s chairman, Adam Schiff, said the refusal was “unprecedented” and certainly involved the Justice Department. It was an attempt, he added, to hide “information about an urgent matter” from Congress.
“We cannot get an answer to the question about whether the White House is also involved in preventing this information from coming to Congress,” Schiff said, adding: “We’re determined to do everything we can to determine what this urgent concern is to make sure that the national security is protected.”