White House conducting probe into handling of Ukraine call transcript: report

The White House counsel has started an internal review of the events surrounding President TrumpDonald John TrumpTrump says his advice to impeachment defense team is 'just be honest' Trump expands tariffs on steel and aluminum imports CNN's Axelrod says impeachment didn't come up until 80 minutes into focus group MORE's Ukraine phone call that is at the center of House Democrats' impeachment inquiry, according to The New York Times.

White House aides told the Times that the review is centered around deputy White House counsel John A. Eisenberg and why he uploaded the transcript of Trump's July 25 phone call with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, which sparked a whistleblower complaint, to a server reserved for the country's most sensitive security documents.

It is unclear who initiated the review, but the Times reports that aides for acting White House chief of staff Mick MulvaneyJohn (Mick) Michael MulvaneySenate Republicans must stand up for the rule of law and ensure a fair, open proceeding Democrats cap impeachment arguments with focus on Trump stonewalling Lindsey Graham will oppose subpoena of Hunter Biden MORE are helping the counsel's office with the matter.

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Trump has repeatedly denied any wrongdoing in the call and has released a partial transcript.  According to the Times report, some in the White House fear the review is being used to find a scapegoat for the Ukraine controversy by focusing on how the transcript of the call was handled and whether those actions sparked the impeachment inquiry.

White House officials declined comment to the Times. White House spokesman Hogan Gidley would not comment on how the White House handles classified information, saying "we released the conversation unredacted showing the whole world the president did nothing wrong,” in a statement.

Two people familiar with Eisenberg told the Times that he "reacted angrily" over the rumors that he was under investigation.

Eisenberg has reportedly told others that he did nothing wrong in his handling of the transcript.

Eisenberg has told colleagues that he stored the transcript in a secure server only to protect it from leaks.

The Times reports that Eisenberg did not discuss how the transcript should be handled with other senior officials before acting. He declined to comment to the Times through the National Security Agency.

But the handling of the call has become a flashpoint in the complicated impeachment inquiry. Some have said the handling of the transcript signals that other officials were concerned with the substance of Trump's call with the Ukrainian leader.

A number of current and former officials told the Times they do not believe Eisenberg did anything improper. And they noted that other transcripts of calls with world leaders are also placed on the secure server.