The Justice Department declined to act on a criminal referral, which suggested that President Donald Trump committed a potential campaign finance violation by asking his Ukrainian counterpart to investigate former Vice President Joe Biden.
The referral was sent by Justice Department’s inspector general to the Justice Department in August, following the anonymous whistleblower’s complaint that President Trump sought help from the Ukrainians for his re-election campaign.
“The Inspector General’s letter cited a conversation between the President and Ukrainian President Zelensky as a potential violation of federal campaign finance law, while acknowledging that neither the Inspector General nor the complainant had firsthand knowledge of the conversation,” the spokeswoman Kerri Kupec said in a statement.
The Justice Department “reviewed the official record of the call and determined, based on the facts and applicable law, that there was no campaign finance violation and that no further action was warranted,” she added.
The telephone conversation, according to its transcript released by the White House Wednesday, did not show the president pressuring Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky to intervene in the 2020 presidential election or leveraging military aid as a quid-pro-quo.
In the call, the president asked Zelensky to work with his personal attorney Rudy Giuliani and said hoped that Zelensky could look into Biden’s role in stopping a prosecution and firing of a Ukrainian prosecutor.
Kupec also said that President Trump had not spoken to Attorney General William Barr “about having Ukraine investigate anything relating to former Vice President Biden or his son.”
The Justice Department also released an Office of Legal Counsel opinion concluding that the whistleblower’s complaint about the president’s conversations with foreign leader was not an “urgent concern” and was not required to be turned over to congressional intelligence committees.