- Damning allegations against President Trump and White House officials are revealed with the release by Congress of a whistleblower's complaint.
- Among them is the belief by the whistleblower that Trump's actions were so obviously egregious that White House officials promptly launched a cover-up.
- The House has launched an impeachment inquiry into Trump to investigate the matter.
Damning allegations against President Donald Trump and White House officials were exposed Thursday with the release by Congress of a complaint by a whistleblower who is a member of the U.S. intelligence community.
Among them is the whistleblower's belief that Trump's actions were so obviously egregious that White House officials promptly launched a cover-up to minimize the chance that Trump's efforts to have a foreign power dig up dirt on a leading Democratic presidential contender would become public.
The complaint says that "more than half a dozen U.S. officials" provided information detailed in the report over a four-month period.
Here are the biggest bombshell claims in the complaint:
- Trump used the power of the presidency to pressure Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelensky to interfere in the 2020 election by launching an investigation of Democratic presidential contender Joe Biden and his son Hunter Biden, who had served on the board of a Ukraine company.
- Trump's personal lawyer, Rudy Giuliani, was a "central figure" in that effort, who reached out to and met with key Zelensky advisers.
- Officials told the whistleblower that Ukrainian leaders were led to believe that a meeting or call between Zelensky and Trump would depend on whether Ukraine's president "showed willingness to 'play ball' on the issues" that Giuliani was raising.
- Attorney General William Barr appeared to be involved in the effort to get Ukraine to cooperate with Trump's desire for a probe of Biden.
- White House officials were "deeply disturbed" by a July 25 phone call Trump had with Zelensky. There were discussions "with White House lawyers because of the likelihood," in the minds of officials, "that they had witnessed the President abuse his office for personal gain."
- Senior White House officials intervened to "lock down" records of the call with Zelensky, which "underscored to me that White House officials understood the gravity of what had transpired in the call."
- White House lawyers directed White House officials to remove the electronic transcript of the Zelensky call from the computer system where such transcripts normally are stored. That transcript then was loaded into a "separate electronic system" that is otherwise used to store and handle classified information of an especially sensitive nature. "One White House official described this act as an abuse of this electronic system because the call did not contain anything remotely sensitive from a national security perspective."