WASHINGTON — White House officials said President Donald Trump abused "his office for personal gain" by asking the president of Ukraine during a phone call to investigate a political rival, leaving them "deeply disturbed," according to a whistleblower complaint made public on Thursday.
And in the days following the phone call, White House officials sought to cover up the call, the whistleblower alleged, adding their complaint constituted an "urgent concern."
Senior White House officials were directed by White House lawyers to "lock down" records of the call between the two leaders, the whistleblower wrote. Specifically, the officials were tasked with removing the electronic transcript from the computer system in which transcripts are typically stored and upload it to a separate system used to handle classified information.
"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," the whistleblower wrote. (The whistleblower later noted that White House officials told them this was “not the first time” that the White House placed a presidential transcript in that system to protect “politically sensitive — rather than national security sensitive — information.”)
The whistleblower said in the complaint that they were not a "direct witness" to these events, but said they found the events credible because "multiple officials recounted fact patterns that were consistent with one another."
"In the course of my official duties, I have received information from multiple U.S. Government officials that the President of the United States is using the power of his office to solicit interference from a foreign country in the 2020 U.S. election. This interference includes, among other things, pressuring a foreign country to investigate one of the President's main domestic political rivals. The president's personal lawyer, Mr. Rudolph Giuliani, is a central figure in this effort. Attorney General [Bill] Barr appears to be involved as well," the complaint reads.
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