- President Donald Trump was aware of the whistleblower complaint – which alleged that he was using his office for political gain – ahead of releasing nearly $US400 million in military aid to Ukraine, The New York Times reported, citing two people familiar with the matter.
- This new timeline detail puts Trump’s motives behind releasing military aid to the country under scrutiny as investigators take into consideration whether or not the complaint played a role in his decision.
- The whistleblower complaint served as the impetus behind an explosive impeachment inquiry into the president launched by House Democrats.
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President Donald Trump was aware of the whistleblower complaint filed by a member of the intelligence community ahead of releasing nearly $US400 million in military aid to Ukraine, The New York Times reported.
White House lawyers approached the president in late August regarding the complaint, which focuses in on a July 25 phone call in which the president discusses the 2016 election and former Vice President Joe Biden and his son with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky. The president unfroze military aid to Ukraine in September.
This new timeline detail puts Trump’s motives behind releasing military aid to the country under scrutiny as investigators take into consideration whether or not the complaint played into his decision.
The whistleblower complaint, which alleges abuse of power by the president, served as the impetus for the current impeachment inquiry into the president launched by House Democrats. The investigation was launched to determine if Trump was withholding military aid to pressure Ukraine into conducting an investigation into his political opponent, Biden, and his son Hunter, who sits on the board of the Ukrainian energy company Burisma.
The Times report followed the release of the transcript of Office of Management and Budget official Mark Sandy’s closed-door congressional testimony, in which he said that the president directed a hold on military support for Ukraine on July 12. Trump requested information about the security aid later on July 19.
A week later, on July 25, Trump spoke with Zelensky in a phone call to congratulate the Ukrainian president on his election. According to a transcript released by the White House, Trump mentioned how much the US helps the country and asks for a favour from Zelensky.
In a phone conversation the next day, Trump spoke with Ambassador to the EU Gordon Sondland to confirm if Zelensky would “do the investigation,” according to congressional testimonies from Sondland and US Embassy official David Holmes.
The whistleblower complaint, which centres around Trump’s call with Zelensky, was filed in August and became known by the public in September. At the end of September, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi used it as a catalyst for the long-awaited impeachment inquiry.
- Read more:
- A whistleblower, a cover-up, and a quid pro quo: Here’s everything we’ve learned from the impeachment inquiry
- Ukraine’s President Zelensky said he didn’t feel pressured by Trump. Here’s why that’s bogus.
- Trump is facing impeachment over a whistleblower complaint and a phone call with Ukraine’s president. Here’s what we know.
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