President Trump denounced an explosive whistleblower complaint rocking the White House as “highly partisan" after revelations emerged that it involves his efforts to pressure Ukraine into investigating Democratic front runner Joe Biden.
The president said an unidentified intelligence operative was doing the work of “radical left Democrats” by officially complaining about Trump’s alleged bullying of his Ukrainian counterpart as part of a campaign spearheaded by Rudy Giuliani.
The Washington Post and the New York Times reported that Trump hoped to force the Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky to step up a probe into Biden’s supposed involvement in a business deal involving the ex-vice president’s son.
Trump insisted he did nothing wrong and his conversation with the Ukraine leader was “pitch perfect."
The Radical Left Democrats and their Fake News Media partners, headed up again by Little Adam Schiff, and batting Zero for 21 against me, are at it again! They think I may have had a “dicey” conversation with a certain foreign leader based on a “highly partisan” whistleblowers..
Giuliani, Trump’s lawyer, admitted on CNN Thursday night, that he warned Ukraine officials to investigate Joe Biden and his son, Hunter, during a controversial trip to the Eastern European nation in August.
In a combative appearance, the former mayor said Trump would be within his rights to threaten to cut off aid to force Ukraine to act against the Bidens — a move that would presumably bolster Trump’s 2020 reelection prospects against the Democratic front runner.
“If the president of the United States said to the president of Ukraine: ‘Investigate the corruption in your country’ .... that’s what he’s supposed to do,” Giuliani told host Chris Cuomo.
Rudy says charges of Trump blackmailing Ukraine are outrageous and if they're true it's awesome. pic.twitter.com/MpjJ7GIzYr
Congressional Democrats are demanding details about the complaint, which was deemed “urgent” by the intelligence community’s inspector general. That determination would normally mean it must be divulged to Congress, but Trump’s handpicked newly appointed acting director of national intelligence ordered the inspector general not to do so.
Rep. Adam Schiff (D-Calif,), head of the House intelligence committee, has threatened to sue to obtain details of the still-anonymous whistleblower’s complaint, which the two newspapers say concerned the call to Zelensky in July and other undisclosed actions by Trump.
Lawmakers also want a transcript of the call to Zelensky.
Inspector General Michael Atkinson gave scant information about the complaint in a closed-doors hearing Thursday. Acting DNI Joseph Maguire, who was tapped to replace Dan Coats after he quit along with his deputy around the same time as the complaint was filed, is expected to testify about the matter on Capitol Hill next week.
Congress was already investigating Giuliani’s controversial trip to Ukraine, which was apparently intended to spur action against the Bidens.
Giuliani is Trump’s lawyer but he has claimed that Trump was unaware of the trip before it happened and did not order him to put pressure on Ukraine’s new leader, a former comedian who was elected in May.
Presidents and other U.S. officials are supposed to act in the best interests of the country and avoid using their foreign policy power to further their own partisan political interests.