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Trump says whistleblower complaint is ‘political hack job’

Credit: Reuters Studio
Published on September 20, 2019 - Duration: 02:27s

Trump says whistleblower complaint is ‘political hack job’

The Trump administration is facing allegations from Democrats that it’s stonewalling Congress as it seeks information about a whistleblower complaint reportedly involving communications between President Donald Trump and a foreign leader.

Jonah Green reports.

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Trump says whistleblower complaint is ‘political hack job’

The Trump administration is facing allegations from Democrats that it’s stonewalling Congress as it seeks information about a whistleblower complaint reportedly involving communications between President Donald Trump and a foreign leader.

According to a Washington Post report, which first reported the story - the whistleblower raised an internal alarm after President Trump allegedly made a 'promise' during a phone call.

The Post said the country involved was Ukraine.

Denying the allegations from the Oval Office Friday, Trump attacked the whistleblower.

SOUNDBITE (ENGLISH) US PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP, SAYING: "It's ridiculous.

It's a partisan whistleblower.

Shouldn't even have information.

I've had conversations with many leaders, they're always appropriate.

It’s just another political hack job." The House is already investigating whether Trump or his associates were withholding military aid from Ukraine as part of an effort "to coerce" the Kiev government into launching an investigation of Joe Biden and his family.

Trump Friday brushed aside the allegation.

SOUNDBITE (ENGLISH) REPORTER, SAYING: "Did you discuss Joe Biden, his son or his family with the leader?" SOUNDBITE (ENGLISH) US PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP, SAYING: "It doesn’t matter what I discuss." Likewise, Trump’s personal attorney Rudy Giuliani told CNN: "If what is reported is true, it doesn't make any difference." Democratic Chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, Adam Schiff on Thursday claimed the Department of Justice advised the intelligence community to withhold from Congress the potentially damaging complaint.

(SOUNDBITE) (English) REP.

ADAM SCHIFF (D-CA), CHAIRMAN OF THE HOUSE INTELLIGENCE COMMITTEE, SAYING: "I believe that there is an effort to prevent this information getting to Congress and if the assertion is accurate that the Department of Justice has made and the DNI has affirmed that this involves a potentially privileged communication, then at one level or another, it likely involves either the president or people around him." The whistleblower complaint reportedly went the office of the Inspector General of National Intelligence… where it was deemed an "urgent concern"… a legal threshold that required notification of congressional oversight committees.

But in an escalating standoff with Congress, the acting Director of National Intelligence, Joseph Maguire, has refused to share specifics about the complaint with lawmakers.

A source familiar with the matter told Reuters the whistleblower complaint at the center of the dispute alleged “multiple acts” by Trump, not just a phone call with a foreign leader.

Next week, acting National Intelligence Director Joseph Maguire is scheduled to testify before Schiff's House panel in an open session.

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