Politics

White House to release whistleblower complaint against Trump to Congress by Thursday, source says

President Donald Trump arrives to address the 74th session of the United Nations General Assembly at U.N. headquarters in New York, September 24, 2019.
Carlo Allegri | Reuters

President Donald Trump said Tuesday he had authorized the release of the "complete, fully declassified and unredacted" transcript of a July phone call he had with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky that is at the center of questions stemming from reports that Trump pressured him to investigate the family of former Vice President Joe Biden.

Trump has been under fire for the midsummer call after a whistleblower complaint alleged that the president may have made inappropriate comments on the call. Some reports have alleged that Trump may have tied aid to Ukraine to the country's willingness to investigate business dealings of Biden's son.

"You will see it was a very friendly and totally appropriate call. No pressure and, unlike Joe Biden and his son, NO quid pro quo! This is nothing more than a continuation of the Greatest and most Destructive Witch Hunt of all time!" Trump tweeted.

The release of the transcript by the White House isn't likely to appease Democrats, who have demanded that the administration provide the whistleblower complaint to Congress and who in increasing numbers are coming out in support of some form of impeachment action against Trump. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi announced later a formal impeachment inquiry later on Tuesday, saying that "no one is above the law."

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The White House is preparing to turn over the whistleblower complaint by this Thursday, according to a senior administration official.

That official tells NBC News the complaint will undergo a classification review and be provided to Congress by Thursday.

Acting Director of National Intelligence Joseph Maguire is scheduled to testify before the House Intelligence Committee on Thursday. Maguire and the national intelligence inspector general, Michael Atkinson, are also set to appear before the Senate Intelligence Committee behind closed doors Thursday afternoon.

Lawyers for the whistleblower approached Maguire for "guidance" on arranging a potential meeting with members of the House and Senate intelligence committees. The Senate on Tuesday voted unanimously on a nonbinding resolution calling on Trump to release the whistleblower complaint.

Earlier Tuesday, Trump had confirmed reports that his administration froze almost $400 million in aid to Ukraine. But he gave a new reason for doing so: He said he wanted European countries to contribute money, too, and did not want the United States to do so alone.

"As far as withholding funds, those funds were paid," Trump said. "They were fully paid. But my complaint has always been — and I'd withhold again, and I'll continue to withhold until such time as Europe and other nations contribute to Ukraine, because they're not doing it."

"Very important, I want other countries to put up money," he added. "I think it's unfair that we put up the money. Then other people call me. They said, 'Oh, let it go.' And I let it go. But we paid the money, the money was paid."

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Pelosi announces opening of formal impeachment inquiry
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