Donald Trump has denied a report alleging he made a promise to a foreign leader, something that sparked a whistleblower's formal complaint
Washington (Pakistan Point News / Online - 20th September, 2019) Donald Trump has denied a report alleging he made a promise to a foreign leader, something that sparked a whistleblower's formal complaint.The Washington Post said the intelligence official found the comment "so troubling" they went to the department's inspector general.In a tweet, Trump dismissed the claims as "fake news".Democrats are trying to get the complaint turned over to Congress, with the details still unknown.
Only a few details about the complaint, which was filed on 12 August, have been made public.Intelligence Community Inspector General Michael Atkinson said the complaint consists of a "serious or flagrant problem, abuse or violation of the law" that involves classified information, a letter to lawmakers revealed.It is not yet known who made the complaint, which foreign leader Mr Trump was speaking to, what promise - if any - was made and whether Mr Trump took any action as a result.
However, the Washington Post and the New York Times both said at least part of the complaint related to Ukraine, citing officials with knowledge of the matter.The acting director of national intelligence, Joseph Maguire, has so far refused to share any details of the complaint with lawmakers, leading to an outcry among Democrats.Earlier this month, before the whistleblower's complaint came to light, House Democrats launched an investigation into Trump and his lawyer Rudy Giuliani's interactions with Ukraine.
Three Democratic panel heads - Eliot Engel (foreign affairs), Adam Schiff (intelligence) and Elijah Cummings (oversight) - said Trump and Giuliani had attempted "to manipulate the Ukrainian justice system to benefit the president's re-election campaign and target a possible political opponent".They allege that Trump and Giuliani attempted to pressure the Ukrainian government into investigating former Vice-President Joe Biden and his son Hunter, who previously served on the board of a Ukrainian gas company.
Joe Biden is currently seeking the Democratic presidential nomination.Trump and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy had a phone call on 25 July.A summary of the phone call, released by Mr Zelenskyy's office, said Trump believed the new government would be able to "quickly improve [the] image of Ukraine, [and] complete investigation of corruption cases, which inhibited the interaction between Ukraine and the USA".The Democrats also noted that the White House had held up $250m in military aid for Ukraine, despite the funds being approved by Congress, before eventually releasing the money on 12 September.
On Thursday afternoon, Trump wrote on Twitter that he knew all his phone calls to foreign leaders were listened to by US agencies."Knowing all of this, is anybody dumb enough to believe that I would say something inappropriate with a foreign leader," he asked.Meanwhile, Mr Giuliani gave an interview to CNN where he both confirmed, and denied, that he had asked Ukraine to investigate Joe Biden.He explained the contradiction by saying that he had asked Ukraine "to look into the allegations that related to my client, which tangentially involved Joe Biden in a massive bribery scheme".
Trump and his fellow Republicans have questioned whether it represented a conflict of interest that Hunter Biden had served on the board of Burisma, a Ukrainian gas company.In May, Ukraine's prosecutor general said there was no evidence of wrongdoing by Joe or Hunter Biden.The whistleblower shared their complaint with Inspector General Michael Atkinson, who is responsible for conducting independent audits and investigations across the intelligence community.
Under US law, if the complaint is considered to be of "urgent concern", and if the inspector general considers the complaint to be "credible", then it is submitted to the head of that department, who is expected to share the information with Congress within seven days.However, the acting director of national intelligence (DNI), Joseph Macguire, has so far not released the information.A lawyer for Macguire's office said in a letter to lawmakers that the complaint "does not meet the definition of urgent concern".
The complaint "concerned conduct by someone outside the intelligence community and did not relate to any 'intelligence activity' under the DNI's supervision", the letter said.It also involved "potentially privileged matters", the letter added.It also involved "potentially privileged matters", the letter added.Atkinson told lawmakers in a letter that he disagreed with the DNI's assessment, and believed the complaint "relates to one of the most significant and important of the DNI's responsibilities to the American people".However, Atkinson added that he was bound by the acting director of national intelligence's decision.