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DOJ Declined to Investigate Trump Ukraine Call, Found No Campaign Finance Violation

The Justice Department building stands in Washington, D.C., February 1, 2018. (Jim Bourg/Reuters)

The Department of Justice declined to investigate the July call between President Trump and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky that prompted a formal presidential impeachment inquiry into allegations of a quid pro quo scheme.

“Relying on established procedures set forth in the Justice Manual, the Department’s Criminal Division reviewed the official record of the call and determined, based on the facts and applicable law, that there was no campaign finance violation and that no further action was warranted,” read a Wednesday statement from Justice spokesperson Kerri Kupec.

“All relevant components of the Department agreed with this legal conclusion, and the Department has concluded the matter,” she added.

During a July 25 phone call with Ukraine’s president, Volodymyr Zelensky, Trump repeatedly asked Zelensky to investigate Biden’s son, Hunter Biden, over allegations that the former vice president used his position to help a Ukrainian energy company avoid a corruption probe soon after Hunter was appointed to its board of directors.

On Tuesday, Trump admitted that he temporarily withheld military aid from Ukraine that was intended to help the country ward off Russian aggression, prompting suspicion of a quid pro quo scheme. If a quid pro quo deal was struck, it may constitute a campaign finance law violation since a foreign national, Zelensky, would have been providing Trump’s campaign assistance in the form of opposition research on his chief political rival, Joe Biden.

The White House on Wednesday released a partial transcript of the call, which revealed Trump did in fact ask Zelensky to help Trump attorney Rudy Giuliani investigate Biden’s influence in firing a Ukrainian prosecutor.

The whistleblower complaint from an anonymous member of the intelligence community was submitted to the Director of National Intelligence’s inspector general and subsequently sent to the DOJ in August.

An Office of Legal Counsel opinion released by the DOJ on Wednesday said the whistleblower complaint was not an “urgent concern” and challenged the idea that the complaint must be sent to the congressional intelligence committees.

However, Senate Republicans on Tuesday unanimously approved a non-binding measure proposed by Democrats calling on the Trump administration to turn the complaint over to Congress.

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