NEWS
26/09/2019 6:24 PM IST

Whistleblower Complaint Involving Trump-Ukraine Call Released

The complaint was addressed to US Senate Intelligence Committee Chairman Richard Burr and House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff.

The whistleblower complaint that centered on the phone call between US President Donald Trump and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky has been declassified and released to the public.

Read a redacted version of the declassified complaint here.

Rep. Chris Stewart (R-Utah), a member of the House Intelligence Committee, was the first to confirm late Wednesday that the complaint, which has prompted widespread outrage among Democrats, would be released to the broader public less than a day after a redacted version was passed along to a small group of congressional lawmakers.

The whistleblower’s legal team applauded the decision to declassify the report, telling The Hill on Wednesday that the complaint “establishes that, ultimately, the lawful whistleblower disclosure process can work.”

“We await the release of the complaint in its totality,” the attorneys told The Hill.

The Trump administration, under bipartisan pressure, provided the then-classified complaint earlier Wednesday to congressional intelligence committees, who had for days been urging the acting director of national intelligence, Joseph Maguire, to comply with the law and release it. Maguire had initially refused, and House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff (D-Calif.) first heard about the complaint earlier this month after the inspector general for the intelligence community told him Maguire was sitting on it.

The unnamed whistleblower first filed the document in August, several weeks after a July phone call between Trump and Zelensky. A reconstruction of the phone call released by the White House on Wednesday details multiple instances in which Trump pressured his counterpart to investigate the family of one of his main political rivals, Joe Biden, and his son, Hunter Biden. During one point in the call, Trump asked the Ukrainian president for a “favor” shortly after Zelensky brought up U.S. military aid that had been provided to the country.

The inspector general determined that the complaint was “credible” and of “urgent” concern, and many Democrats who have seen it have echoed those sentiments.

Attorneys for the whistleblower told The New York Times on Wednesday that their client hoped to remain anonymous as any investigation into the matter continues. The lawyers were working with lawmakers and the White House to determine how the person could speak with members of Congress.

“Intelligence officers, by nature, are not people who want to be publicly known,” Andrew Bakaj, the lead lawyer for the person, told the Times. “If you are an intelligence officer through and through, you are doing this for national security.”

There was already support from both parties to release the complaint to the public, including from Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.), Stewart and Rep. Elise Stefanik (R-N.Y.). 

Soon after reports of that call were revealed, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi announced on Tuesday that a formal impeachment inquiry into Trump would begin. Those calls continued to grow after the documents were made public, and as of Wednesday evening, a majority of the House supported the decision to open the inquiry.