Presidential update: What happened during week 2 of the Impeachment Inquiry

Developments in the impeachment inquiry

By Kallie Cox, News Editor

An unclassified version of the Aug. 12 complaint that sparked the impeachment inquiry was released to the public on Sept. 26 by the House intelligence committee.

The House announced it would begin a formal impeachment inquiry Sept. 24 after a complaint surfaced claiming President Donald Trump attempted to coerce Ukraine into interfering with the 2020 election.

(See more: Pelosi announces house will begin formal inquiry into impeachment)

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The whistleblower started the complaint by saying they were reporting a matter of “urgent concern” to Richard Burr, chairman of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, and Chairman Adam Schiff of the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence.

“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 whistleblower said in the complaint.

The whistleblower said Trump’s personal lawyer, Rudolph Giuliani, and Attorney General William Barr were also involved in the interference.

The first example of interference the whistleblower cited in the complaint is Trump’s July 25 phone call with Ukraine’s president Volodymyr Zelenskyy

Prior to this call in July, Trump withheld $391 million in security assistance from Ukraine. He claimed he was blocking the aid because of “corruption” in the country. This assistance was eventually released to the country on Sept. 11.

(See more: Pentagon Letter Undercuts Trump Assertion on Delaying Aid to Ukraine Over Corruption)

On Sept. 24, the memorandum of this call was declassified and released by order of the president. The memorandum is not word for word and is based on notes taken by individuals in the White House Situation Room.

According to these notes, Trump began the call by congratulating the president on his recent victory in Ukraine’s election and then asked Zelenskyy to investigate the Bidens and “crowd strike” the Democratic National Committee’s cyber security firm.

Trump mention’s Giuliani and Barr multiple times and said he would have them call Zelenskyy, according to the memorandum.

These notes fall into line with the complaint.

The whistleblower said in the days following the call, officials within the Trump administration attempted to “lock down” all records of the call.

“White House officials told me that they were “directed” by White House lawyers to remove the electronic transcript from the computer system in which such transcripts are typically stored for coordination, finalization, and distribution to Cabinet-level officials,” the whistleblower said.

The whistleblower said on or around Aug. 2 ,Giuliani reportedly traveled to Madrid to meet with one of president Zelenskyy’s advisers, Andriy Yermak. According to the complaint, the U.S. officials characterized this meeting, which was not reported publicly at the time, as a “direct follow-up” to the president’s call with Zelenskyy about the “cases” they had discussed.

Since these documents have been made public, Giuliani has been subpoenaed by the House to testify and provide documents, and documents were subpoenaed from Secretary of State Mike Pompeo after it was revealed that he was on the Ukraine call.

The Ukraine complaint is no longer the only allegation of interference driving the inquiry. On Monday, the Department of Justice confirmed Trump also asked the Australian prime minister to investigate the origins of the Mueller investigation and Russia probe.

The whistleblower remains anonymous, and Trump has publicly threatened retaliation against the individual.

“President Trump told staff members at the United States Mission to the United Nations, on Thursday, that he wants to know who provided information to a whistle-blower about his phone call with the president of Ukraine, saying that whoever did so was “close to a spy” and that “in the old days” spies were dealt with differently,” The New York Times reported.

Senate majority leader Mitch McConnell said Monday that the Senate would be forced to take up an impeachment resolution if it came over from the House.

To view the unclassified copy of the memorandum from The New York Times see more: Full Document: Trump’s Call With the Ukrainian President

To view the unclassified complaint from The New York Times see more: Document: Read the Whistle-Blower Complaint

News Editor Kallie Cox can be reached at [email protected] or on Twitter at @KallieECox.

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