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Whistleblower Filed Report with CIA Before Submitting Complaint

President Donald Trump speaks to reporters in Washington, D.C., January 23, 2019. (Kevin Lamarque/REUTERS)

The whistleblower who submitted a complaint on possible abuses of power by President Trump originally reported the matter to the CIA general counsel, according to a report from the New York Times.

The CIA lawyer, Courtney Simmons Elwood, then shared the report with the White House and the Department of Justice, following standard procedure with regard to complaints of this type. The whistleblower remained anonymous throughout the process.

Elwood also took up the whistleblower’s concerns with officials from the Justice Department. Eventually Attorney General William P. Barr was made aware of the allegations, but was not involved in planning further proceedings regarding them.

However, during this time, the whistleblower learned that his concerns had been passed on to the White House. He suspected that the CIA wasn’t taking his concerns seriously, so he decided to file a complaint with the intelligence community inspector general, Michael Atkinson, a move that gave him legal protection.

The whistleblower complaint was released Thursday in redacted form. The complainant alleges that the Trump administration went to extraordinary lengths to keep the contents of a July phone conversation between Trump and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky a secret, and that several White House officials with direct knowledge of the conversation worried that Trump had used his office to try to leverage his own political gain.

The Trump administration released the transcript of the call on Wednesday. The transcript records Trump pressing Zelensky to look into possible evidence of corruption on the part of Hunter Biden, presidential candidate Joe Biden’s son, who had business holdings in Ukraine at the time his father was vice president.

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Zachary Evans is a news writer for National Review Online. He is a veteran of the Israeli Defense Forces and a trained violist.

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