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Whistleblower Report Out: It Alleges a Cover-Up

Complaint says White House attorneys tried to 'lock down' records of the call
By John Johnson,  Newser Staff
Posted Sep 26, 2019 8:25 AM CDT
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President Trump speaks during a news conference at the InterContinental Barclay New York hotel during the United Nations General Assembly, Wednesday, Sept. 25, 2019, in New York.   (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)

(Newser) – Wednesday brought the release of a rough transcript of President Trump's call with Ukraine's leader. Thursday brings the release of the nine-page whistleblower report that followed. Read it for yourself here. It makes two central allegations: that President Trump asked a foreign leader to interfere in the 2020 election on his behalf, and that alarmed White House officials then tried to "lock down" all records of the call. Details:

  • Interference: "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," wrote the unidentified intelligence official in the complaint, per the Washington Post. "This interference includes, among other things, pressuring a foreign country to investigate one of the President’s main domestic political rivals," says the complaint, referring to Joe Biden. "The President’s personal lawyer, Mr. Rudolph W. Giuliani, is a central figure in this effort. Attorney General (William) Barr appears to be involved as well.”

  • 'Lock down': "In the days following the phone call, I learned from multiple US officials that senior White House officials had intervened to 'lock down' all records of the phone call, especially the word-for-word transcript of the call that was produced—as is customary—by the White House Situation Room," say the complaint, per the New York Times. "This set of actions underscored to me that White House officials understood the gravity of what had transpired in the call."
  • Specifically: White House officials say they were directed by White House attorneys "to remove the electronic transcript from the computer system in which such transcripts are typically stored," per the complaint.
  • 'Personal gain': White House officials "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."
  • Trump strikes back: As the House begins an impeachment inquiry over the matter, Trump issued an all-caps rebuttal on Thursday: "The Democrats are trying to destroy the Republican Party and all that it stands for," he wrote. "Stick together, play their game, and fight hard Republicans. Our country is at stake!"
(Read more Trump impeachment stories.)

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