The White House scrambled to “lock down” records of President Donald Trump’s phone call pressing for Ukraine’s interference in next year’s US election, according to an incendiary whistleblower complaint released Thursday, in the latest episode of an intensifying impeachment drama.
The complaint caps a stunning week of revelations that have put Trump’s presidency in jeopardy, with his administration, the Justice Department and State Department all engulfed in the mushrooming scandal.
It alleges that White House officials said they had likely “witnessed the president abuse his office for personal gain” in the July call with Ukrainian leader Volodymyr Zelensky.
The alleged misconduct centers on Trump urging Zelensky to investigate the US leader’s political rival Joe Biden -- prompting the complaint and triggering a congressional impeachment probe. The whistleblower, who says he spoke to at least six US government officials, concluded that Trump was “using the power of his office to solicit interference from a foreign country in the 2020 US election.”
“I learned from multiple US officials that senior White House officials had intervened to ‘lock down’ all records of the phone call, especially the official word-for-word transcript of the call that was produced,” he wrote.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi led Democratic condemnation of Trump and those alleged to have hidden the call’s full transcript on a limited-access electronics record system.
“This is a cover up,” she told reporters.
Trump has “betrayed his oath of office, our national security, and the integrity of our elections,” Pelosi added.
WASHINGTON (AFP), 27 Sept, 2019