A partially redacted version of the whistleblower complaint that has led to an impeachment inquiry into US President Donald Trump was released Thursday morning, detailing allegations that the president and members of his administration conspired to induce a foreign country to interfere in the 2020 US presidential election.
The complaint, originally made on August 12, comes from a yet unnamed source within the Trump administration who “received information from multiple U.S. government officials that the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 U.S. election.” The complaint was filed with intelligence community Inspector General Michael Atkinson in August, but was illegally withheld from congressional intelligence committees until earlier this week. Section (K)(5)(C) of the Intelligence Community Whistleblower Protection Act requires that whistleblower complaints from members of US intelligence agencies be released to congress within seven days. The refusal of the Trump administration to release the whistleblower complaint was one of the catalyzing events that led congressional Democrats to begin impeachment proceedings.
The complaint alleges that while on a phone call made on July 25, Trump pressured the government of Ukraine to investigate unsubstantiated claims that Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden’s son had illegal business dealings in the country and provide that information to the White House. In addition, the president reportedly requested that the Ukrainian government obtain and deliver servers used by the Democratic National Committee during the 2016 presidential election that he believed were in the country and to contact US Attorney General Robert Barr and Trump’s personal attorney Rudy Giuliani for any follow-up. Most notably, the complaint alleges that White House officials sought to immediately cover up the records of the conversation, including removing electronic recordings of the phone call from normal White House records systems and refusing to distribute raw transcripts to cabinet-level officials as is customary. The complaint further details months of interactions between Giuliani, Barr and Ukrainian officials allegedly tied to the interference scheme. Finally, a redacted portion of the complaint covers the refusal of the administration to release approved foreign aid to Ukraine at the same time as the phone call took place. The details of the whistleblower complaint comport with a heavily edited summary of the telephone conversation released by the White House on Wednesday.