NATIONWIDE — The whistleblower's complaint about the controversial phone call between President Donald Trump and Ukraine's president has been released by Congress on Thursday morning.
- President Donald Trump reacts to complaint
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Parts of the nine-page declassified complaint are redacted, but it can be viewed down below.
The release of the complaint is the result of a July 25 phone call between President Donald Trump and Ukraine's president about former Vice President Joe Biden. According to the complaint, White House officials wanted to "lock down" the phone calls between the two presidents.
The complaint is at the center of the House Democrat's impeachment probe of the president.
The complaint — sent to Richard Burr, chairman of the Select Committee on Intelligence of the Senate, and Adam Schiff, the permanent select Committee on Intelligence of the House, on August 12 — showed that the whistleblower was "deeply concerned" about the actions allegedly taken.
However, the anonymous whistleblower admitted that he or she did not directly witness most of the events described in the complaint. In it, the whistleblower cited unnamed White House officials as his sources.
According to the whistleblower, the key takeaways of the 30-minute phone call were:
- "initiate or continue an investigation into the activities of former Vice President Joseph Biden and his son, Hunter Biden;"
- "Assist in purportedly uncovering the allegations of Russian interference in the 2016 U.S. presidential election originated in Ukraine, with a specific request that the Ukrainian leader locate and turn over servers used by the Democratic National Committee (DNC) and examined by the U.S. cyber security firm Crowdstirke, which initially reported that Russian hackers had penetrated the DNC's networks in 2016; and"
- "meet or speak with two people the president named explicitly as his personal envoys on these matters, Mr. Giuliani and Attorney General Barr, whom the President referred multiple times in tandem"
"In the days following the phone call, I learned from multiple U.S. officials that senior White House officials had intervened to 'lock down' all the records of the phone call, especially the official word-for-word transcript of the call that was produced as is customary by the White House Situation Room. This set of actions underscored to me that White House officials understood the gravity of what had transpired in the call," the complaint stated.
The whistleblower alleged that White House officials told him or her that they were "directed" by White House lawyers to remove the electronic transcript of the phone call from the computer system.
The transcript was allegedly loaded to a separate electronic system that is usually used to store and handle classified information of sensitive nature.
"One White House official described this act as an abuse of this electric system because the call did not contain anything remotely sensitive from a national security perspective," the complaint stated.
A five-page memo of the 30-minute call between Trump and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy was released on Wednesday, which shows that Trump requested that Biden be investigated.
Biden worked with Ukraine on anti-corruption while his son, Hunter, worked for a Ukrainian gas company. Hunter Biden was on the board of directors of a Ukrainian gas company, Burisma Holdings, in 2014. There has been speculation that there was wrongdoing, which the two Bidens denied.
"The other thing, there's a lot of talk about Biden's son, that Biden stopped the prosecution and a lot of people want to find out about that so whatever you can do with the Attorney General would be great. Biden went around bragging that he stopped the prosecution so if you can look into it ... It sounds horrible to me," the president said, according to the memo.
The memo was not a verbatim transcript.
On Thursday afternoon, the president tweeted, saying the whistleblower was getting second-hand information.
A whistleblower with second hand information? Another Fake News Story! See what was said on the very nice, no pressure, call. Another Witch Hunt!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) September 26, 2019
Lawmakers on both sides of the aisle have concerns about the whistleblower complaint itself and the way in which it was handled.
Republicans are seizing upon the notion that this whistleblower was not present for much of the 4 and a half months of his or her documentation and that he or she is relying on second-hand knowledge from multiple White House officials in this complaint.
They also are airing their frustrations about how the details of the president's call with his Ukrainian counterpart was made public and the security of the president's future calls with foreign leaders.
Democrats on the other hand are warning that this situation will have a "chilling" effect on future whistleblowers who might want to come forward.
That is because they are pointing out that the acting Director of National Intelligence Joseph Maguire consulted with the White House counsel after receiving the complaint and that it was not immediately available to Congress.
Florida U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio, who is on the intelligence committee, said he wanted to read more of the complaint.
"I'm not talking about this issue until all the facts have come forward. I've read it but I have more reading to do," he explained.
.@marcorubio whistleblower complaint: “I’m not talking about this issue until all the facts have come forward.” He tells he has read the complaint but has more reading to do. @MyNews13 @BN9 pic.twitter.com/xPZwcAcd3Y— Samantha-Jo Roth (@SamanthaJoRoth) September 26, 2019
Rubio and Democratic Rep. Val Demings are the only two Florida members who have had access to the full-classified version of the complaint.
The committees have yet to view the report on the fuller investigation conducted by the inspector general.