The whistleblower complaint that has triggered a tense showdown between the U.S. intelligence community and Congress involves President Trump’s communications with a foreign leader, according to two former U.S. officials familiar with the matter.
Trump’s interaction with the foreign leader included a “promise” that was regarded as so troubling that it prompted an official in the U.S. intelligence community to file a formal whistleblower complaint with the inspector general for the intelligence community, said the former officials, speaking on the condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to discuss the matter publicly.
It was not immediately clear which foreign leader Trump was speaking with or what he pledged to deliver, but his direct involvement in the matter has not been previously disclosed. It raises new questions about the president’s handling of sensitive information and may further strain his relationship with U.S. spy agencies. One former official said the communication was a phone call.
People who are much more knowledgeable about the inner workings of operations like this are speculating that this phone call and the risk to U.S. intelligence are what caused John Bolton to quit/resign/get fired.
If so, and if what was in the phone call to the foreign leader was such a breach, it’s just another log on the fire of what should constitute grounds for impeachment. And now the House Intelligence Committee, lead by Rep. Adam Schiff (D-CA) will, after threats of contempt of Congress citations, get to hear from the acting DNI next week.
So who did Trump call?
Intelligence Community Inspector General Michael Atkinson determined that the complaint was credible and troubling enough to be considered a matter of “urgent concern,” a legal threshold that ordinarily requires notification of congressional oversight committees.
The complaint was filed with Atkinson’s office on Aug. 12, a date on which Trump was at his golf resort in New Jersey. White House records indicate that Trump had had conversations or interactions with at least five foreign leaders in the preceding five weeks.
Among them was a call with Russian President Vladimir Putin that the White House initiated on July 31. Trump also received at least two letters from North Korean leader Kim Jong Un during the summer, describing them as “beautiful” messages. In June, Trump said publicly that he was opposed to certain CIA spying operations against North Korea. Referring to a Wall Street Journal report that the agency had recruited Kim’s half-brother, Trump said, “I would tell him that would not happen under my auspices.”
He’s running the White House like he ran his businesses — always skirting the law and ethics — and compromising our intelligence networks to make some kind of deal — for what, who knows? — and all to prove that he’s the bestest dealmaker around ever, especially better than that gay Kenyan Muslim with the butch wife and funny-looking dog.