×
You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

Whistleblower Complaint Suggests White House Tried to Suppress Ukraine Call

Senior White House officials tried to “lock down” information about a call between President Donald Trump and the president of Ukraine, according to a whistleblower complaint released on Thursday.

The complaint alleges that White House officials removed a rough transcript of the call from the computer system where such documents are typically held, and put it on a system for classified information.

The whistleblower’s allegations prompted the House to launch a formal impeachment inquiry into whether Trump abused his office to smear former vice president Joe Biden, a leading contender for the 2020 Democratic nomination. The complaint centers on a July 25 phone call between Trump and Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelensky, in which Trump urges an investigation of Biden and his son.

The whistleblower was not one of the dozen U.S. officials who listened in on the call, but heard about it from others in the White House who were “disturbed” by it, according to the document.

“The White House officials who told me this information were deeply disturbed by what had transpired in the phone call,” the complaint states. “They told me that there was already a ‘discussion ongoing’ with White House lawyers about how to treat the call because of the likelihood, in the officials’ retelling, that they had witnessed the President abuse his office for personal gain.”

The complaint alleges that Rudy Giuliani, the president’s personal attorney, was a central figure in the discussions with Ukraine, and that Attorney General William Barr may have been involved as well.

The disclosure comes a day after the White House released a rough transcript of Trump’s July 25 phone call. According to that document, Trump told the Ukrainian president that the United States has been “very very good” to Ukraine, but that, “I wouldn’t say that it’s reciprocal.” Zelensky raised the subject of military aid to his country, which is involved in a continuing conflict with Russia. In response, Trump asked for a “favor” from the Ukrainian president, and then asked for investigations of Biden and the Democratic National Committee server.

The whistleblower complaint centers on that phone call, but also adds additional context on events that led up to it.

The complaint is addressed to the chairs of the House and Senate Intelligence Committees, Rep. Adam Schiff and Sen. Richard Burr, and dated Aug. 12. The Trump administration initially refused to turn the complaint over to Congress, but reversed course once the impeachment inquiry was launched.

At a House Intelligence Committee hearing on Thursday, Schiff and other Democrats faulted Joseph Maguire, the acting director of national intelligence, for not turning over the complaint sooner, and for defying a committee subpoena for the document. Maguire said that he was working with the Justice Department’s Office of Legal Counsel on the best way to transmit the information.

Appearing on “Jimmy Kimmel Live!” on Wednesday night, Biden called the president’s conduct a “blatant abuse of power.”

Popular on Variety

More Politics

  • Elizabeth Warren Taylor Swift

    Elizabeth Warren Backs Taylor Swift in Big Machine Battle, Slams Private Equity Firms

    Taylor Swift’s battle with Big Machine has spilled into the political arena. Democratic presidential candidate Elizabeth Warren retweeted Swift’s Thursday message about her former record label preventing her from performing her old hits at the American Music Awards, adding that Swift is “one of many whose work as been threatened by a private equity firm.” [...]

  • Adam Schiff

    Adam Schiff Slams 'That Charlatan in the White House'

    Adam Schiff was greeted as a hero at the state party convention in Long Beach on Saturday morning, as he urged California Democrats to help defeat “that charlatan in the White House.” Schiff, who chairs the House Intelligence Committee, appeared at the convention after leading the opening week of impeachment hearings against President Trump. He [...]

  • Roger Stone

    Roger Stone, Trump Ally, Found Guilty of Lying to Congress, Witness Tampering

    Roger Stone was found guilty on Friday in his false statements and obstruction trial. He faces up to 20 years in prison. The political operative and long-time confidant of President Donald Trump was convicted by a federal jury in Washington, D.C., of all seven counts against him, including witness tampering and making false statements. After [...]

  • Marie Yovanovitch

    Trump Attacks Former Ukraine Ambassador During Impeachment Testimony

    President Donald Trump lashed out at the former U.S. ambassador to Ukraine as she testified on Friday morning in the House impeachment hearings. Marie Yovanovitch, who was removed from her post in May, testified that foreign policy toward Ukraine had come under the sway of foreign corrupt interests. She said she felt personally threatened by [...]

  • Career Foreign Service officer George Kent,

    TV Ratings: Fox News, ABC Draw Big Impeachment Numbers

    The first day of the impeachment hearings against President Donald Trump drew over 13 million total viewers across the broadcast and news networks combined. Fox News’s coverage from 10 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. drew the highest total viewership of any network, averaging around 2.9 million sets of eyeballs. MSNBC followed in second with 2.7 million [...]

  • Career Foreign Service officer George Kent

    Impeachment Hearings: Bill Taylor Testifies About 'Alarm' Regarding Ukraine Aid

    Bill Taylor, the top U.S. diplomat in Ukraine, testified on Wednesday that he became increasingly alarmed as it became clear that U.S. military aid was conditioned on launching investigations into former Vice President Joe Biden and the 2016 election. Taylor and George Kent, the deputy assistant secretary of state, were the first witnesses called to [...]

  • Patrick Whitesell and Ari Emanuel WME

    Endeavor PAC Goes Quiet as Candidates Reject Corporate Cash

    In February 2017, Hollywood was gripped by a spirit of resistance to the Trump administration. Endeavor bosses Ari Emanuel and Patrick Whitesell pledged to do their part to fight back by organizing a political action committee. The committee, Endeavor Action, took in almost $300,000 in 2017 and 2018, and distributed about half that money to [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content