White House

Whistleblower Complaint Claims White House Moved to ‘Lock Down’ Ukraine Call Transcript

President Trump speaks during an “Opportunity Zone” conference at the White House, April 17, 2019. (Carlos Barria/Reuters)

The Trump administration on Thursday released a whistleblower complaint that accuses the president of attempting to use his position “to solicit interference from a foreign country” in the 2020 election.

According to the complaint, White House officials were “deeply disturbed” by Trump’s controversial July 25 phone call with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky and moved to “lock down” all information about it.

The White House on Wednesday released a partial transcript of the call, which confirmed that Trump asked Zelensky to help investigate former vice president Joe 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.

Trump on Tuesday admitted to temporarily withholding nearly $400 million in military aid to Ukraine intended to ward off Russian aggression, but said he did so because he wished other countries to contribute to Ukraine as well.

The whistleblower said that White House officials moved to “lock down” the transcript by placing it in a “standalone” computer system, which is managed directly by the National Security Council Directorate for Intelligence Programs, and is reserved for “codeword-level intelligence information, such as covert action”

“According to information I received from White House officials, some officials voiced concerns internally that this would be an abuse of the system,” the anonymous member of the intelligence community states in the complaint.

The complaint adds that White House officials told the whistleblower it was “not the first time” a presidential transcript from Trump had been placed in this security system to protect politically sensitive rather than national security sensitive information.

White House lawyers also discussed “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,” according to the complaint.

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