Hundreds of current and former U.S. national security and foreign policy officials signed a statement Friday calling President Donald Trump's July call with the leader of Ukraine a "profound national security concern."
Trump asked the Ukrainian president to investigate former Vice President and Democratic presidential hopeful Joe Biden during the July 25 call, sparking a whistleblower complaint from a U.S. intelligence official concerned Trump was soliciting foreign election interference. The complaint is central to the impeachment inquiry launched Tuesday by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi.
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Update 7:20 p.m. EDT Sept. 27: Kurt Volker, the State Department's special envoy for Ukraine, resigned Friday, The New York Times reported.
Volker was asked by Trump and his attorney Rudolph Giuliani to find damaging information on Democrats, The Times reported.
Volker is expected to be interviewed in a deposition as part of the House impeachment inquiry Thursday.
Update 6:35 p.m. EDT Sept. 27: Trump met Friday with Wayne LaPierre, president of the National Rifle Association, and discussed gun legislation and whether the gun rights group could provide support to the president during his 2020 reelection campaign as he faces impeachment, The New York Times reported.
The NRA gave more than $30 million to Trump during his 2016 election, The Times reported.
Update 5:40 p.m. EDT Sept. 27: Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has been subpoenaed by three House committees for documents related to Ukraine.
The committees on foreign affairs, intelligence and oversight and reform sent a letter to Pompeo Friday afternoon asking for the documents by Oct. 4.
Update 1:45 p.m. EDT Sept. 27: House Intelligence Committee Chair Adam Schiff is considering holding a hearing next Friday on the whistleblower complaint filed last month against President Donald Trump, according to Politico.
It was not immediately clear whether the meeting would be public. Lawmakers told Politico they were awaiting word from Schiff on details of the meeting.
"The Intel committee is going to be active," House Democratic Caucus Chairman Hakeem Jeffries told Politico. "The investigation is ongoing. We're going to approach it with the seriousness and solemnity that it deserves."
Update 12:05 p.m. EDT Sept. 27: The House Intelligence Committee expects to hold hearings as soon as next week as Democrats move forward with an impeachment inquiry into President Donald Trump, House Intelligence Committee Chair Adam Schiff told CNN on Friday.
"I expect subpoenas," Schiff told CNN, adding that he expects it will be a "busy couple (of) weeks."
At least two Democrats on the House Intelligence Committee, Reps. Eric Swalwell and Jackie Speier, said Friday that they've canceled events in their home districts in favor of preparing for the expected hearings.
Update 10:40 a.m. EDT Sept. 27: Members of the House Intelligence Committee braced Friday for the possibility of returning to Washington during the upcoming two-week recess amid the ongoing impeachment probe of President Donald Trump, CNN reported.
Citing unidentified sources, the news network reported Democrats aimed to complete their impeachment inquiry by fall.
Earlier Friday, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi declined to specify a timeline for the probe, saying only that Democrats would "move with purpose, and expeditiously, but not hastily," The Guardian reported.
Update 9:45 a.m. EDT Sept. 27: Bloomberg News has obtained video of President Donald Trump telling a private gathering of U.S. diplomats that the source who gave information to the whistleblower was "close to a spy."
"You know what we used to do in the old days when we were smart, right? With spies and treason, right?" Trump can be heard saying in the clip, which Bloomberg reported was recorded Thursday while the president addressed the United States Mission to the United Nations. "We used to handle it a little differently than we do now."
The comments sparked condemnation from Democrats, who have accused Trump of witness intimidation in their ongoing impeachment probe. Reps. Eliot Engel, Adam Schiff and Elijah Cummings suggested Thursday in a statement that Trump's efforts to interfere with the potential witness could be unlawful.
In a whistleblower complaint filed last month against President Donald Trump, an unidentified U.S. intelligence official implicated Barr in Trump's alleged efforts to "solicit (election) interference from a foreign country."
"I do think the attorney general has gone rogue. He has for a long time now," Pelosi told CNN. "And since he was mentioned in all of this, it's curious that he would be making decisions about how the complaint would be handled."
Earlier Friday, Pelosi told MSNBC that Barr's handling of the complaint "just makes matters worse."
"I think where they are going is the coverup of the coverup," she said.
Update 7:55 a.m. EDT Sept. 27: Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi appeared on MSNBC's "Morning Joe" Friday, speaking out about the impeachment inquiry lawmakers have issued against President Donald Trump.
"This is a very sad time for our country," Pelosi said in the exclusive interview.
But she called the move "protecting the Constitution of the United States" after she accused Trump's administration of "jeopardizing national security" and "jeopardizing the integrity of our elections."
Update 7:02 a.m. EDT Sept. 27: Almost 300 former United States national security and foreign policy officials have signed a statement calling President Donald Trump's call with the president of the Ukraine a "Profound national security concern" and are backing up the impeachment inquiry called by Congress to get to the bottom of the allegations, The Washington Post reported.
The statement released Friday reads in part, "To be clear, we do not wish to prejudge the totality of the facts of Congress' deliberative process. At the same time, there is no escaping that what we already know is serious enough to merit impeachment proceedings."
Those who signed the statement issued by the group National Security Action are former senior officials from both Democratic and Republican administrations. But a majority of members of the organization came from President Barack Obama's administration, the Washington Post reported.
The list of signers also includes members of President George H.W. Bush's administration including William Burns who served as Bush's assistant secretary of state for Near East affairs, undersecretary for policy and ambassador to Russia. He was also a deputy secretary for the Obama administration.
Meanwhile, House Democrats are warning the president to stop "reprehensible witness intimidation" against the whistleblower, CNN reported.
In a joint statement released Thursday evening, the chairmen of the Foreign Affairs Committee, House Intelligence Committee and Oversight Committee said, "The President's comments today constitute reprehensible witness intimidation and an attempt to obstruct Congress' impeachment inquiry. We condemn the President's attacks, and we invite our Republican counterparts to do the same because Congress must do all it can to protect this whistleblower, and all whistleblowers."
The statement, according to CNN, also said, "Threats of violence from the leader of our country have a chilling effect on the entire whistleblower process, with grave consequences for our democracy and national security."
Trump continued his attacks on the reporting of the call between himself and the Ukranian president, saying the call "could not have been better or more honorable" in a series of morning Tweets.
Update 7:20 p.m. EDT Sept. 26: President Donald Trump continued to defend himself against allegations of wrongdoing via Twitter Thursday evening.
"The President of Ukraine said that he was NOT pressured by me to do anything wrong," he tweeted. "Can't have better testimony than that! As V.P., Biden had his son, on the other hand, take out millions of dollars by strong arming the Ukrainian President. Also looted millions from China. Bad!"
Update 3:55 p.m. EDT Sept. 26: The Los Angeles Times released an audio recording Thursday afternoon of President Donald Trump calling the source of a whistleblower who last month filed a complaint against him "almost a spy."
The New York Times reported earlier Thursday that Trump made the comments while speaking with staff members from the United States Mission to the United Nations.
Update 2:55 p.m. EDT Sept. 26: Angry over the recently released whistleblower complaint filed against President Donald Trump, Rudy Giuliani, the president's personal attorney vented to a reporter for The Atlantic on Thursday.
"It's impossible that the whistleblower is a hero and I'm not. And I will be the hero! These morons -- when this is over, I will be the hero," he told The Atlantic's Elaina Plott. "I'm not acting as a lawyer. I'm acting as someone who has devoted most of his life to straightening out government. ... Anything I did should be praised."
In a whistleblower complaint filed last month against Trump, an unidentified U.S. intelligence official said Giuliani was "a central figure" in Trump's efforts to "solicit (election) interference from a foreign country." The official said U.S. Attorney General William Barr "appears to be involved as well."
Trump has dismissed the complaint as "fake news."
Update 2 p.m. EDT Sept. 26: The whistleblower who filed a complaint against President Donald Trump last month after the president asked the Ukrainian leader to investigate one of his political rivals is a CIA officer, according to a report from The New York Times.
The man was previously detailed to work at the White House, though he has since returned to the CIA, the Times reported, citing three unidentified sources with knowledge of the person's identity.
Lawyers for the whistleblower declined to say whether he worked for the CIA and warned that "publishing information about him was dangerous," according to the Times.
Update 1:35 p.m. EDT Sept. 26: President Donald Trump said Thursday that whoever provided information to the whistleblower who filed a complaint last month against him is "close to a spy," according to The New York Times.
Trump made the comments while speaking Thursday morning with stunned staff members from the United States Mission to the United Nations, the Times reported.
"I want to know who's the person who gave the whistleblower the information because that's close to a spy," Trump said, according to the Times. "You know what we used to do in the old days when we were smart with spies and treason, right? We used to handle it a little differently than we do now."
Trump spoke as Acting Director of National Intelligence Joseph Maguire testified before the House Intelligence Committee about his handling of the complaint.
Update 12:55 p.m. EDT Sept. 26: President Donald Trump dismissed the whistleblower complaint filed against him as "Another Fake News Story" Thursday after Acting Director of National Intelligence Joseph Maguire testified Thursday before the House Intelligence Committee.
Maguire was asked to testify about his handling of a complaint filed last month against Trump following a July 25 call the president had with the Ukrainian president. White House officials released a rough transcript of the call Wednesday.
"See what was said on the very nice, no pressure, call," Trump wrote. "Another Witch Hunt!"
In a subsequent tweet, the president attacked House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff, D-Calif., as having "zero credibility." Schiff brushed off the criticism while speaking with reporters, saying he's "always flattered when I'm attacked by someone of the president's character."
Schiff said Thursday that his panel is working to secure testimony from the whistleblower, who has been identified only as a U.S. intelligence official.
"We're obviously going to be bringing the whistleblower in," Schiff said.
Update 12:35 p.m. EDT Sept. 26: Acting Director of National Intelligence Joseph Maguire testified Thursday before the House Intelligence Committee after the panel publicly released a redacted version of a whistleblower complaint filed last month against President Donald Trump.
Maguire told lawmakers the complaint wasn't immediately shared with Congress because it centered on a conversation between the president and a foreign leader, a conversation that is "typically subject to executive privilege."
He said he didn't know the identity of the whistleblower, but that he or she "acted in good faith."
"I want to stress I believe the whistle-blower and the inspector general have acted in good faith throughout," he said. "I have every reason to believe that they have done everything by the book and followed the law."
The whistleblower complaint is at the center of an impeachment inquiry.
Update 12:10 p.m. EDT Sept. 26: A former top Ukrainian prosecutor told The Washington Post he did not believe Vice President Joe Biden's son, Hunter Biden, violated any of the country's laws after White House officials released a rough transcript of a July phone call in which President Donald Trump asked Ukraine's leader to investigate allegations of wrongdoing.
"From the perspective of Ukrainian legislation, he did not violate anything," former Ukrainian Prosecutor General Yuri Lutsenko told the Post.
In a rough transcript of a July 25 call between Trump and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, the U.S. president brought up unsubstantiated allegations that as vice president, Joe Biden sought to interfere with a Ukrainian prosecutor's investigation of Hunter Biden. The vice president's son at the time served on the board of Burisma, Ukraine's largest private gas company, according to the Post.
The owner of Burisma was previously investigated for suspected abuse of power and unlawful enrichment, though the Post reported, "Hunter Biden was never accused of any wrongdoing in the investigation."
"Hunter Biden cannot be responsible for violations of the management of Burisma that took place two years before his arrival," Lutsenko told the Post.
Update 11:25 a.m. EDT Sept. 26: House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said the whistleblower complaint filed last month against President Donald Trump showed a "coverup" in the White House.
Pelosi spoke at a news conference Thursday as the House Intelligence Committee heard testimony from Acting Director of National Intelligence Joseph Maguire.
"The complaint states that the White House tried to lock down all records of the call, especially the word for word transcript," she said.
"That gave the whistleblower reason to believe that they, the White House, understood the gravity of what transpired in that call. The complaint reports a quote, repeated abuse of an electronics record system designed to store classified, sensitive national security information which the White House used to hide information of a political nature."
"This is a coverup," she said. "This is a coverup."
Update 10:30 a.m. EDT Sept. 26: Acting Director of National Intelligence Joseph Maguire on Thursday told the House Intelligence Committee he is working to allow the whistleblower to testify before Congress, though he noted he was unaware of the person's identity. The whistleblower has been identified in media reports only as a U.S. intelligence official.
Maguire declined to say whether he spoke to the president about the complaint, telling lawmakers his conversations with Trump are privileged.
"I will not divulge privileged conversations that I have as the director of national intelligence with the president," he said. "It would be inappropriate for me because it would destroy my relationship with the president in intelligence matters."
Update 10 a.m. EDT Sept. 26: Acting Director of National Intelligence Joseph Maguire told the House Intelligence Committee on Thursday morning that he believes the whistleblower and the inspector general who handled the complaint "acted in good faith throughout."
"I have every reason to believe that they have done everything by the book and followed the law," Maguire said while testifying before the panel.
He told lawmakers that he didn't immediately share details of the complaint with the House Intelligence Committee because the conversation it centered on seemed to be one "typically subject to executive privilege."
"I want to make it clear that I have upheld my responsibility to follow the law every step of the way in the matter that is before us today," Maguire said.
Update 9:35 a.m. EDT Sept. 26: Acting Director of National Intelligence Joseph Maguire is testifying Thursday before the House Intelligence Committee after the panel released a redacted version of a whistleblower complaint filed last month against President Donald Trump.
Update 9:25 a.m. EDT Sept. 26: House Intelligence Committee Chair Adam Schiff, D-Calif., said the rough transcript released Wednesday of the July 25 call between President Donald Trump and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky provided the "most graphic evidence yet that the President of the United States has betrayed his oath of office."
White House officials claimed the whistleblower's complaint about Trump's efforts to seek dirt from Ukraine on former Vice President Joe Biden "shows nothing improper."
An unidentified U.S. intelligence official said in the complaint that Ukrainian leadership was "led to believe" that a phone call between Trump and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky was conditioned on whether Zelensky "showed willingness to ‘play ball'" on issues raised by Trump's personal attorney, Rudy Giuliani. The complaint also detailed concerns from U.S. officials about "Giuliani's circumvention of national security decisionmaking processes."
Update 9 a.m. EDT Sept. 26: An unidentified U.S. intelligence official raised concerns in a whistleblower complaint released publicly Thursday over President Donald Trump using his power to "solicit interference from a foreign country" in the upcoming presidential election.
"In the course of my official duties, I have received information from multiple U.S. Government officials that the President of the United States is using the power of his office to solicit interference from a foreign country in the 2020 U.S. election," the unidentified official said. "The interference includes, among other things, pressuring a foreign country to investigate one of the President's main domestic political rivals."
The official said Trump's personal lawyer, Rudy Giuliani, was "a central figure in this effort" and that U.S. Attorney General William Barr "appears to be involved as well."
Trump has denied any wrongdoing.
Update 8:40 a.m. EDT Sept. 26: The House Intelligence Committee on Thursday morning released a redacted version of the whistleblower complaint filed last week against President Donald Trump.
"This complaint is a roadmap for our investigation, and provides significant information for the Committee to follow up on with other witnesses and documents," House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff, D-Calif., said in a statement Thursday morning. "And it is corroborated by the call record released yesterday."
Update 7:52 a.m. EDT Sept. 26: According to The Associated Press, "there are signs" that a whistleblower complaint about President Donald Trump may be publicly released as early as today.
"I encourage you all to read it," he wrote.
Update 7 p.m. EDT Sept. 25: The House of Representatives has approved a nonbinding resolution calling on the Trump administration to release the whistleblower complaint to Congress and criticizing the "unprecedented and highly inappropriate efforts" to question the whistleblower's credibility, according to media reports.
The vote was 421 to 0, CNN reported.
Update 5:15 p.m. EDT Sept. 25: President Donald Trump told reporters Wednesday that he met with nearly 20 different world leaders during three days in New York and signed a partial trade agreement with Japan. But he says that, instead of covering those topics, journalists have chosen to waste their time covering "nonsense."
Trump is referring to reports that he pressured Ukraine's leader to investigate former Vice President Joe Biden.
"The Democrats did this hoax during the United Nations week. It was perfect," Trump said, according to CNN. "Because this way it takes away from the tremendous achievements that we're taking care of doing and we're involved in. In New York City at the United Nations."
The president said he's told House Republicans that he fully supports "transparency on the whistleblower information." He said he would be willing to release a rough transcript of a previous call he had in April with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky as well.
Update 4:30 p.m. EDT Sept. 25: President Donald Trump is expected to speak Wednesday afternoon at the United Nations General Assembly.
Update 4:20 p.m. EDT Sept. 25: Senate Intelligence Committee Chair Richard Burr, R-N.C., told NBC News a copy of the whistleblower complaint filed against President Donald Trump was transmitted Wednesday afternoon to the Senate Intelligence Committee.
Update 3:15 p.m. EDT Sept. 25: Rep. Devin Nunes, R-Calif., told the House chamber that Acting Director of National Intelligence Joseph Maguire will provide lawmakers with access Wednesday afternoon to a whistleblower complaint filed against President Donald Trump.
"At 4 o'clock this afternoon, in fact, the DNI is going to transmit the complaint to the Intelligence Committee spaces where all the intelligence community members will have the opportunity to read it.," Nunes said.
Sen. John Cornyn, R-Texas, told CNN that the House Intelligence Committee would gain access to the whistleblower complaint Wednesday and that other senators would be allowed to view the document "perhaps by tomorrow morning."
Trump administration officials previously blocked Congress from getting details of the report, citing presidential privilege.
Update 2:55 p.m. EDT Sept. 25: Former Vice President and current 2020 presidential hopeful Joe Biden called for the full whistleblower complaint to be made public and accused President Donald Trump of peddling "a malicious conspiracy theory that has been universally debunked by every independent outlet that has looked at it."
"It is a tragedy for this country that our president put personal politics above his sacred oath," Biden wrote. "He has put his own political interests over our national security interest, which is bolstering Ukraine against Russian pressure."
Update 2:45 p.m. EDT Sept. 25: Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky told reporters gathered Wednesday at the United Nations General Assembly that he did not feel pressured by President Donald Trump to investigate former U.S. Vice President Joe Biden.
The two spoke after White House officials released a rough, five-page transcript of a July phone call between the two world leaders which prompted a U.S. intelligence official to file a whistleblower complaint against Trump.
"I think you read everything," Zelensky said. "I think we had good phone call. It was normal. We spoke about many things ... and you read it, that nobody pushed me."
With the help of a translator, he added that he didn't "want to be involved ... in elections of USA."
Trump reiterated that he did not pressure Zelensky to investigate Biden, who is running for the Democratic presidential nomination. He also criticized House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, accusing her of being "taken over by the radical left."
"Nancy Pelosi, as far as I'm concerned, unfortunately, she's no longer the speaker of the House," Trump said.
Update 2:25 p.m. EDT Sept. 25: President Donald Trump and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky are meeting at the United Nations General Assembly.
Update 12:30 p.m. EDT Sept. 25: House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff told reporters Wednesday that his committee could hear from the whistleblower as soon as Thursday following the testimony of Acting Director of National Intelligence Joseph Maguire.
"We need to get to the bottom of this whistleblower complaint ASAP," Schiff said.
The whistleblower, identified only as a U.S. intelligence official, filed a complaint last month because of concerns that a July phone conversation between Trump and Zelensky could constitute a federal campaign finance violation. White House officials released a rough transcript of the call Wednesday, which Schiff said showed "the President of the United States engaged in a shakedown of a foreign president."
"It is shocking that the White House would release these notes and somehow felt that this would help the president's case or cause," Schiff said. "What these notes reflect is a classic mafia-like shakedown."
Trump has denied any wrongdoing, telling reporters Wednesday that "there was no pressure whatsoever" put on Zelensky to investigate Biden.
Update 11:35 a.m. EDT Sept. 25: House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff said Wednesday that the rough transcript of the call between Trump and Zelensky "reads like a classic mob shakedown."
The call sparked a whistleblower complaint last month from a U.S. intelligence official concerned the conversation between Trump and Zelensky could have constituted a federal campaign finance violation, according to The Associated Press.
Earlier Wednesday, Schiff sent a letter to U.S. Attorney General William Barr demanding information on how the whistleblower complaint was handled, CNN reported.
Update 11:05 a.m. EDT Sept. 25: President Donald Trump claimed again that he's been the target of "the single greatest witch hunt in American history" Wednesday, a short time after White House officials released a five-page rough transcript of a call he had in July with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky.
"It turned out to be a nothing call other than people said, 'I never knew you could be so nice,'" Trump told reporters Wednesday.
The call prompted a whistleblower complaint from a U.S. intelligence official. The complaint is central to the formal impeachment inquiry launched Tuesday by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi.
According to the rough transcript from White House officials, during the call:
- Trump brought up unsubstantiated allegations that former Vice President Joe Biden sought to interfere with a Ukrainian prosecutor's investigation of his son, Hunter. He prodded Zelensky to work with Rudy Giuliani and the U.S. attorney general to investigate Biden, according to the memo.
- Trump showed a lingering fixation on the Russia investigation headed by special counsel Robert Mueller', who he said turned in "a very poor performance."
- Trump made reference to the private cybersecurity firm that investigated Russia's hack of the Democratic National Committee servers during the 2016 election.
Update 10:40 a.m. EDT Sept. 25: The intelligence community's inspector general told the acting director of national intelligence that a call between Trump and Zelensky could have been a federal campaign finance violation, according to The Associated Press.
The Justice Department determined the president did not commit a crime after prosecutors reviewed a rough transcript of the July 25 call.
A Justice Department official told the AP the inspector general suspected that the call could have been a violation of federal law if the president was soliciting a campaign contribution from a foreign government by asking the Ukraine leader to investigate a political opponent. Prosecutors from the Justice Department reviewed a rough transcript of the call and determined the president did not violate campaign finance law, according to the AP.
Update 10:05 a.m. EDT Sept. 25: Officials released a 5-page transcript of the July 25 call between Trump and Zelensky.
Original report: President Donald Trump said a transcript will be released Wednesday of a phone call he had with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky that apparently sparked a whistleblower complaint against the president last month.
In a tweet Tuesday, Trump said the transcript would be "complete, fully classified and unredacted."
"You will see it was a very friendly and totally appropriate call," Trump said.
Trump has acknowledged that he discussed former Vice President Joe Biden during the call, but he has denied allegations he tried to pressure Zelensky into investigating the Democratic presidential hopeful in an effort to damage one of his rivals before the 2020 presidential election.
Citing two unidentified senior administration officials, The New York Times reported Monday that Trump personally ordered his staff to freeze nearly $400 million in aid to Ukraine a few days before he had a phone call with Zelensky. Trump confirmed the decision Tuesday, but he said it was made in the interest of balancing contributions to the country.
"My complaint has always been, and I'd withhold again and I'll continue to withhold until such time as Europe and other nations contribute to Ukraine because they're not doing it," Trump said, according to The Washington Post.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.
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