The whistleblower at the center of scrutiny over President TrumpDonald TrumpTrump announces new social media network called 'TRUTH Social' Virginia State Police investigating death threat against McAuliffe Meadows hires former deputy AG to represent him in Jan. 6 probe: report MORE’s dealings with Ukraine filed his complaint with the intelligence community’s inspector general after first going to the CIA general counsel, according to a new report.
Multiple people familiar with the matter told The New York Times that the whistleblower brought a broad complaint to Courtney Simmons Elwood, the CIA general counsel, the week after the July 25 phone call between President Trump and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky.
During the call, which formed the basis for the later whistleblower complaint, Trump urged Zelensky to open an investigation into former Vice President Joe BidenJoe Biden White House: US has donated 200 million COVID-19 vaccines around the world Police recommend charges against four over Sinema bathroom protest K Street revenues boom MORE, a chief political rival. A readout of the call was released by the White House on Wednesday, while the complaint was released Thursday.
Elwood tried to evaluate if there was a “reasonable basis” for the concerns raised by the anonymous whistleblower and spoke with John Eisenberg, a deputy White House counsel, the Times reports.
According to the newspaper, the initial allegations brought to the CIA counsel only reported that major questions existed about one of Trump's calls with a foreign leader, with the counsel later learning that multiple people raised concerns about the call.
However, as the process dragged out, the whistleblower reportedly became concerned his allegations were not being taken seriously, particularly after finding out Elwood had contacted the White House.
The whistleblower then decided to formally submit a complaint with Michael Atkinson, the intelligence community’s inspector general, a move that provides extra legal protections.
The White House and National Security Council did not respond to the Times's request for comment, while the CIA referred the newspaper to Atkinson, who declined to comment.
The whistleblower complaint was declassified Thursday amid much fanfare, revealing that “multiple White House officials with direct knowledge” of the Ukraine call had expressed concern that Trump was using his office for his personal political gain when he asked Zelensky to investigate Biden.
Trump has denied wrongdoing during the call, which he has described as "perfect."
The White House released a readout of his conversation with Zelensky on Wednesday, showing Trump urging the Ukrainian leader to look into Biden over his role pushing Kiev in 2016 to fire a prosecutor who was investigating a natural gas company with ties to his son Hunter Biden.
“There's a lot of talk about Biden's son, that Biden stopped the prosecution and a lot of people want to find out about that so whatever you can do with the Attorney General would be great," Trump said on the call, according to a memo released by the White House. "Biden went around bragging that he stopped the prosecution so if you can look into it... It sounds horrible to me.”
No evidence has emerged that Biden, the current Democratic presidential front-runner, acted to benefit his son.
Scrutiny over the call led to Speaker Nancy PelosiNancy PelosiOvernight Defense & National Security — Presented by Raytheon Technologies — Navy probe reveals disastrous ship fire response GOP rep leaves committee assignments after indictment Under pressure, Democrats cut back spending MORE’s (D-Calif.) announcement Tuesday that the House would commence a formal impeachment investigation into the president.