- A whistleblower complaint from an intelligence official released publicly on Thursday said White House officials worried they’d witnessed President Donald Trump “abuse his office for personal gain” in a July 25 phone call with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky.
- The complaint said the officials were “deeply disturbed” by the call, in which Trump urged Zelensky to investigate former Vice President Joe Biden and his son Hunter Biden.
- “In the course of my official duties, I have received information from multiple US Government officials that the President of the United States is using the power of his office to solicit interference from a foreign country in the 2020 US election,” the complaint said.
An explosive whistleblower complaint from an intelligence official says that White House officials were “deeply disturbed” by President Donald Trump‘s July 25 phone call with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky and worried they’d witnessed Trump “abuse his office for personal gain.”
A declassified version of the complaint, which has sparked a scandal that threatens Trump’s presidency, was publicly released Thursday morning.
“In the course of my official duties, I have received information from multiple US Government officials that the President of the United States is using the power of his office to solicit interference from a foreign country in the 2020 US election,” the complaint says, going on to implicate the president’s personal lawyer, Rudy Giuliani, as well as Attorney General William Barr.
The whistleblower, who submitted the complaint on August 12, said that over the past four months over half a dozen US officials “have informed me of various facts related to this effort.”
The whistleblower was not a direct witness to “most of the events described,” according to the complaint, but found his or her colleagues’ accounts to be credible because “in almost all cases, multiple officials recounted fact patterns that were consistent with another” and “a variety of information consistent with this private accounts has been reported publicly.”
The complaint’s description of the call was similar to the summary released by the White House on Wednesday, with Trump and Zelensky initially exchanging pleasantries before Trump asked the Ukrainian president to investigate former Vice President Joe Biden – a 2020 Democratic presidential candidate – and Biden’s son Hunter.
“The White House officials who told me this information were deeply disturbed by what had transpired in the phone call,” the whistleblower said. “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 was withheld from Congress for weeks by the acting director of national intelligence, Joseph Maguire, who testified before the House Intelligence Committee on Thursday morning. After a tense standoff and repeated requests for the complaint, it was released to congressional intelligence committees on Wednesday and more widely released Thursday morning ahead of Maguire’s testimony.
Trump has rejected the notion he was applying pressure to the Ukrainian president, though the summary showed him repeatedly pressing Zelensky for an investigation of Biden.
Biden’s son Hunter was from April 2014 to early in 2019 on the board of a Ukrainian gas company, Burisma Holdings, that had come under investigation by a Ukrainian prosecutor, Viktor Shokin, who was ousted in March 2016. Biden, among many others, urged for Shokin to be pushed out amid allegations he was not doing enough to root out corruption. By the time Shokin was ousted, the investigation into the gas company was dormant. There is no evidence of wrongdoing on Biden or his son’s part.
Earlier this week, as the Ukraine scandal was rapidly unfolding, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi announced the launch of a formal impeachment inquiry into Trump.