The Washington Post reported Thursday, Sept. 19, that the complaint involves an intelligence official’s allegation that President Donald Trump made an unspecified “promise” to an unidentified foreign leader. The report then claimed that at least part of the complaint involves Ukraine. The Post cited two anonymous former U.S. officials.
Intelligence Committee Chairman Rep. Adam Schiff (D-Calif.), said Inspector General Michael Atkinson determined the whistleblower complaint was “credible and urgent” and should be “transmitted to Congress.”
President Trump denied Thursday that he would ever “say something inappropriate” on such a call.
“Another Fake News story out there—It never ends!” Trump tweeted. “Virtually anytime I speak on the phone to a foreign leader, I understand that there may be many people listening from various U.S. agencies, not to mention those from the other country itself. No problem!”
He asked, “Is anybody dumb enough to believe that I would say something inappropriate with a foreign leader while on such a potentially ‘heavily populated’ call.”
….Knowing all of this, is anybody dumb enough to believe that I would say something inappropriate with a foreign leader while on such a potentially “heavily populated” call. I would only do what is right anyway, and only do good for the USA!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) September 19, 2019
The president added, “Presidential Harassment!”
Meanwhile, Schiff said he was prepared to go to court to try to force the Trump administration to open up about the complaint.
“The inspector general has said this cannot wait,” said Schiff, describing the administration’s blockade as an unprecedented departure from law. “There’s an urgency here that I think the courts will recognize.”
Schiff said he, too, could not confirm whether newspaper reports were accurate because the administration was claiming executive privilege in withholding the complaint.
President Trump spoke to new Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky two and a half weeks before the complaint was given to Intelligence Community Inspector General Michael Atkinson on Aug. 12, reported by the Washington Examiner.
House Democrats have investigated whether Trump and his lawyer, Rudy Giuliani, improperly used leverage against Ukraine in order to obtain information about Joe Biden’s financial ties to the eastern European nation.
“As the 2020 election draws closer, President Trump and his personal attorney appear to have increased pressure on the Ukrainian government and its justice system in service of President Trump’s re-election campaign, and the White House and the State Department may be abetting this scheme,” House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff, House Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Eliot Engel, and House Oversight Committee Chairman Elijah Cummings wrote in a letters to the White House and State Department in early September.
Rudy Giuliani, during an appearance Thursday evening on CNN, said he acted independently in pressing the Ukrainian government to investigate former Vice President Joe Biden, the front-runner in the 2020 Democratic presidential primary, and matters related to Paul Manafort.
Giuliani asserted he has “no idea” what President Trump told the new Ukrainian president in a phone call that could be the subject of a damning intelligence community whistleblower complaint.
Includes reporting from the Associated Press