Whistleblower: Trump used office to 'solicit interference' from Ukraine for 2020 election

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The House of Representatives released an unclassified version of the whistleblower complaint alleging illegal activities by Trump.

The House of Representatives released an unclassified version of an explosive whistleblower complaint alleging illegal behavior by Donald Trump, shortly before a hearing Thursday morning with acting Director of National Intelligence Joseph Maguire.

The complaint detailed concerns about a July 25 phone call between Trump and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, among other things.

"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," the letter, dated Aug. 12, begins. The letter implicates both Trump's private attorney, Rudy Giuliani, and Attorney General William Barr as active participants in Trump's effort to persuade a foreign government to investigate one of his 2020 election rivals.

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It is illegal to solicit foreign assistance in a U.S. election, according to the Intelligence Community Inspector General (ICIG). Further, Trump's actions may have broken additional laws, as well as potentially exposed him to "serious national security and counterintelligence risks" by making such a request.

Much of the complaint centers on the July 25 phone call between Trump and the Ukrainian president. During that call, Trump requested "a favor" from the Ukrainian leader: investigate one of Trump's top political rivals, former Vice President Joe Biden.

Further, the complaint states that the White House sought to cover up the contents of the July 25 phone call by moving a transcript of the call to a separate electronic system used to handle classified and especially sensitive material, rather than the normal location for non-sensitive calls. According to the whistleblower, this was not the first time the White House had placed something into a higher-security level system "solely for the purpose of protecting politically sensitive... information."

The release of the unclassified complaint comes one day after the White House released a memo outlining the contents of the July 25 call. In that memo, Trump clearly pressures the Ukrainian leader to investigate Biden, repeating a number of baseless claims about the former vice president.

Trump's allegations about Biden — specifically his claim that Biden in 2016 tried to oust the former Ukrainian prosecutor general who was probing an energy company on whose board Biden's son served at the time — have been largely debunked. The allegations are so outrageously false that during a Trump press conference at the United Nations on Tuesday, MSNBC cut away from Trump speaking to inform viewers that the accusations were not based in fact.

The House is set to hold a hearing with Acting Director of National Intelligence Maguire Thursday morning to discuss the whistleblower complaint.

The full unclassified whistleblower letter can be read here.

Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.