Trump denies knowing whistleblower's identity, calls controversy 'political hack job'

Donald Trump

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The Post reported that the as-yet unknown intelligence official filed his formal complaint to the IG on August 12, and that records show the president had "conversations or interactions" with five foreign leaders in the preceding weeks, including a phone call with Russian President Vladimir Putin and two letters from North Korean leader Kim Jong Un.

The announcement also follows USA reports of a complaint filed by a United States intelligence official that stemmed from Trump's communications with a foreign leader.

The New York Times also reported Thursday that "at least part of" the whistleblower's complaint "deals with" Ukraine.

President Trump blamed "a political hack job" for reports that a whistleblower has charged he had an improper conversation with a foreign leader.

Asked whether he had discussed former Vice President and current presidential candidate Joe Biden with Ukraine, the president responded, "it doesn't matter what I discussed", and he said that someone should look into Biden.

Amid the swirling allegations, Giuliani told CNN Thursday that "of course I did" ask Ukraine to investigate Biden. "It was actually a handsome conversation".

Following the meeting, Rep. Adam B. Schiff (D-Calif.), the chairman of the committee, warned of legal action if intelligence officials did not share the whistleblower complaint.

Schiff and his committee have been trying to unravel the mystery of what a member of the intelligence community found so upsetting that he or she took advantage of a federal whistleblower statute to flag it with the community's inspector general.

Schiff, a California Democrat, said Trump's attack on the whistleblower was disturbing and raised concerns that it would have a chilling effect on other potential exposers of wrongdoing.

"Russia, if you're listening, I hope you're able to find the 30,000 emails that are missing", Trump said in July 2016. If Trump "requested that the president of Ukraine interfere in an American election, we are in really risky, brand new territory", Murphy said, later vaguely adding in a tweet that "Congress must act".

Trump was asked Friday if he brought up Biden in the call with Zelenskiy, and he answered, "It doesn't matter what I discussed".

The disclosure comes amid new details about the White House's role in preventing Director of National Intelligence Joseph Maguire from complying with Congressional demands for the material in the complaint. "Maybe if Obama did that the Biden Family wouldn't have bilked millions from Ukraine and billions from China; being covered up by a Corrupt Media". "I think you will probably be rewarded mightily by our press", he said at the time.

The information "deserves a thorough investigation", Schiff said.

The president's response came amid heightened tensions between Congress and the White House over the scandal.

And the president's lawyer also tweeted: "A President telling a Pres-elect of a well known corrupt country he better investigate corruption that affects U.S. is doing his job". Atkinson also revealed in the Thursday session that he was unhappy with the way the Justice Department and the director of national intelligence handled the complaint.

On Sept. 18, the two sides appear to have reached a compromise, with Schiff announcing that Maguire had agreed to testify publicly on Sept. 26. The agency argued that the allegations in the complaint didn't meet the definition of "urgent concern", since that requires allegations involving "the funding, administration, or operation of an intelligence activity within the responsibility and authority" of the DNI.

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