The White House has a complete transcript of Ukraine call but hid it in a possible 'abuse of power,' whistleblower complaint says

Business Insider Politics 2 months ago

Officials in US President Donald Trump's White House created a full transcript of his explosive call with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, but hid it in a possible "abuse of power," according to a whistleblower complaint.

The complaint, released in full Thursday, comes from an anonymous White House intelligence staffer who initiated a formal process to flag the call, which he or she believed broke the law.

Part of the document includes a description of White House officials seeking to suppress the full transcript of the call, which took place on July 25.

Trump on Wednesday released a summary of the call, compiled from notes taken by officials. But it was not a verbatim transcript.

The whistleblower, citing multiple unnamed US officials, said that the White House tried to "lock down" the transcript itself.

He or she said this effort appeared to confirm that they "understood the gravity of what had transpired in the call."

Donald Trump on phone oval office
resident Donald Trump speaks on the phone in July 2017.
Read more: Biden slams Trump for a 'blatant abuse of power' in Ukraine call which targeted him and his son, and tentatively supports impeachment

The whistleblower said that White House lawyers restricted access to the transcript by removing it from the computer system where such calls are typically held.

Instead, the complaint says it was moved to a more restricted system "otherwise used to store and handle classified information of an especially sensitive nature."

The whistleblower said one official described this to him as "an abuse" of the system, because the contents of the call did not need to be classified.

In an appendix to the document, the whistleblower said that the second, secure, computer system was run by the National Security Council Directorate for Intelligence Programs.

The complaint said: "According to White House officials I spoke with, this was 'not the first time' under this Administration that a Presidential transcript was placed into this codeword-level system solely for the purpose of protecting politically sensitive — rather than national security sensitive — information."

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