What We Know
An intelligence officer, who has asked to remain anonymous, has filed a whistleblower complaint against President Trump. Most importantly, this complaint deals with the President’s phone call interactions with Ukranian president Volodymyr Zelensky. The issue at hand is whether or not President Trump used his position as President or withheld aid from the Ukraine, in order to pressure the Ukrainian President to investigate Hunter and Joe Biden. Consequently, the complaint and the controversy surrounding Director of national intelligence Joseph McGuire’s refusal to hand over the complaint to Congress precipitated Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi’s announcement of impeachment proceedings against President Trump.
It should be noted that Acting director of national intelligence, Joseph McGuire, did not give Congress the complaint even though any whistleblower complaint is required to be handed over to Congress intelligence committees within seven days. However, inspector general Michael Atkinson reviewed the complaint and deemed it credible enough to send to Congress.
Transcript of Phone Call Released
A transcript of a conversation between President Trump and Ukranian president Zelensky was released to the American public. It is the public’s first glimpse into the complaint. Above all, the phone call featured President Trump asking Zelensky to investigate the Biden family. Trump stated that Zelensky would be doing Trump a “favor” as Trump has done “a lot” for the Ukranian president. However, the whistleblower grew concerned that the President was abusing his power and inviting foreign powers to interfere with the upcoming 2020 election. Furthermore, Trump appeared to be withholding funds to Ukraine until Zelensky had completed his end of the deal. The whistleblower also raised concerned about the White House’s handling of the recordings.
The full complaint and what the whistleblower has to say hasn’t been fully revealed. However, recent reactions from the Intelligence Committee are telling. Chairman of the Intelligence Committee Adam B. Schiff, who is also a Democrat from California, stated that the testimony was “deeply disturbing” and “very credible.” Furthermore, the whistleblower has several witnesses that could collaborate on the complaint.
Why Is This Serious?
The complaint deals with two significant issues. First, Atkinson wrote in a memo to the Justice Department that Trump’s phone call with Zelensky “could be viewed as soliciting a foreign campaign contribution in violation of the campaign-finance laws.” The second issue is President Trump may have opened himself and the country to security risks. Important to note, the complaint and Trump’s actions can and will likely be used in the impeachment proceedings.
Whistleblower laws protect the identity of the informant and to ensure that the informant does not suffer punishment. Since the whistleblower is also an intelligence officer it is extremely important that his or her identity be kept secret. As a result, federal law and Congress follow a strict protocol when dealing with whistleblower complaints.
Meanwhile, the intelligence officer’s testimony will be heard on Thursday, September 25. Through their attorney the whistleblower has indicated that they are willing to speak to Congress.
This post will be updated as more information about the case is released.