Trump was briefed on whistleblower complaint before releasing Ukraine aid: report

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President Trump was informed of a whistleblower’s complaint about his dealings with Ukraine before he released aid that had been withheld from the country, The New York Times reported Tuesday, citing two people familiar with the matter.

White House lawyers told Trump in late August about the complaint, telling him that they were attempting to figure out whether they were required to give it to Congress, sources told the newspaper. The military assistance was released in September.

The Times reported that it was not clear how many details Trump knew at the time about the complaint. A report filed by the whistleblower, an unidentified member of the intelligence community, later sparked the House impeachment inquiry into the president.

The White House did not immediately respond to The Hill’s request for comment on Tuesday evening and declined the Times’s request for comment.

Additional details about the withholding of military assistance to Ukraine over the summer became public Tuesday due to the release of transcripts from witnesses in the House impeachment investigation.

White House Office of Management and Budget official Mark Sandy testified that he had been forwarded a July 12 email from the acting chief of staff’s office saying that Trump had directed the aid freeze.

The whistleblower’s report, which became public in September, detailed a July 25 call between Trump and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky that it said showed Trump trying “to advance his personal interests” by pressuring the Ukrainian leader “to take actions to help the President’s 2020 reelection bid.”

The White House later released a reconstituted readout of the call, showing Trump asking the Ukrainian leader to open investigations into the Bidens and the 2016 election.

Trump has denied wrongdoing and has blasted the whistleblower, while Democrats have used details about the call and surrounding White House efforts in an effort to bolster their impeachment probe.

Tags Donald Trump Ukraine Ukraine aid Whistleblower whistleblower complaint

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