Donald Trump demands 'to learn everything about' Ukraine call whistleblower as impeachment proceedings pick up pace

'Why aren’t we entitled to interview' and 'learn everything about the whistleblower,' president asks

Chris Riotta
New York
Tuesday 01 October 2019 15:27 BST
Donald Trump cries 'witch hunt' after DNI whistleblower hearing

Donald Trump has demanded to be able to interview and "learn everything about " an anonymous whistleblower whose report of his telephone call with the president of Ukraine has triggered an impeachment inquiry.

In a tweet posted on Tuesday morning, the president claimed the whistleblower only had “second hand” information about a call in which he seemingly urged Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky to launch a corruption investigation against one of his 2020 political rivals, Joe Biden.

“So if the so-called “Whistleblower” has all second hand information, and almost everything he has said about my “perfect” call with the Ukrainian President is wrong (much to the embarrassment of Pelosi & Schiff), why aren’t we entitled to interview & learn everything about the Whistleblower, and also the person who gave all of the false information to him,” Mr Trump wrote.

“This is simply about a phone conversation that could not have been nicer, warmer, or better,” he added. “No pressure at all (as confirmed by Ukrainian Pres.). It is just another Democrat Hoax!”

The president has continued seemingly calling for the opportunity for his people to meet with the whistleblower ever since their complaint was made public last week.

Speaking to a private group after the United Nations summit in New York City last week, Mr Trump railed against the whistleblower and White House staffers who reportedly provided them with information about the call, saying those officials were “close to a spy”.

"I want to know who's the person, who's the person who gave the whistleblower the information? Because that’s close to a spy," Mr Trump said, according to Los Angeles Times. "You know what we used to do in the old days when we were smart? Right? The spies and treason, we used to handle it a little differently than we do now."

The White House released a five-page memorandum of the phone call in question, in which Mr Trump asked Mr Zelensky “to do us a favour,” before discussing Mr Biden.

Mr Trump had reportedly withheld nearly $400m (£327.3m) in financial aid to the country just days before he spoke with Mr Zelensky, a move House Democrats have suggested was reflective of a quid pro quo on the part of the US president.

“I have received information from multiple US 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 US election,” the complaint reads. “This interference includes, among other things, pressuring a foreign country to investigate one of the President’s main domestic political rivals.”

The complaint goes on to say White House officials were allegedly “directed” by attorneys to conceal evidence of the phone call by storing a verbatim transcript in a separate computer system for highly classified information.

The complaint says: “Instead, the transcript 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 the electronic system because the call did not contain anything remotely sensitive from a national security perspective.”

Mr Trump has continued to ramp up his attacks against the anonymous whistleblower, who reportedly was a member of the US intelligence community previously assigned to the White House, as Democrats have accelerated their impeachment inquiry and investigation against him.

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House committees issued subpoenas to the president's personal attorney a day before his latest tweets directed at the whistleblower, demanding all documents and records involving Ukraine.

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