The whistle blower complaint is a 9 page document whose key points can be summarized as follows:
The whistle blower noted that he “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.” This is a reference to Trump’s conversation with Ukrainian President, Volodymyr Zelensky regarding finding evidence of corruption on Joe Biden’s son.
He then listed the three elements that Trump pressured President Zelensky about:
- Investigating Joe Biden’s son, Hunter Biden (as listed above)
- Investigating claims that Ukraine had alleged Russian interference in the 2016 elections. In addition, he requests Ukraine should find and turn over the DNC servers
- Follow up with the Attorney General, William Barr, and Trump’s personal lawyer, Rudolph Giuliani
He was told by officials that White House lawyers at the time were aware of the potential illegality of the phone call.
He was not the only non-White House official to receive the phone call transcript.
Days after the phone call, White House lawyers told officials to remove the transcript from the computer system and instead place it in a separate system used to for sensitive classified information. One official noted this as abuse, because the phone call was not sensitive from a national security perspective, and so there was no reason to place it in the latter system.
In March 2019, articles from The Hill discussed former Ukrainian Prosecutor General Yuriy Lutsenko alleging that
- Ukrainian officials had interfered in the 2016 US elections by working with the DNC and the US Embassy in Ukraine
- The embassy had prevented Ukrainian law enforcement from prosecuting certain individuals and prevented them from traveling to the US to deliver evidence
- Vice President Biden had pressured the former Ukrainian president to fire Lutsenko (who was Prosecutor General at the time) who was investigating corruption in a Ukrainian company that Biden’s son was working for.
(It should be noted that he later backtracked these allegations).
About Lutsenko: Lutsenko is the Prosecutor General that Trump had talked about to Zelensky in the phone call: “I heard you had a prosecutor who was very good and he was shut down and that’s really unfair.” The whistle blower notes that Lutsenko’s allegations written in The Hill came around the time that his “political patron,” President Poroshenko was trailing Zelensky in the polls prior to the Ukrainian elections. Not only was Lutsenko’s patron likely to lose the election, but Zelensky made it clear that Lutsenko would be replaced as Prosecutor General if Zelensky wins.
Lutsenko had also met with Giuliani twice. Giuliani had tried to reach out to Ukrainian officials numerous times regarding starting an investigation into Biden’s son. White House officials were concerned about Trump’s personal lawyer reaching out to foreign officials in such a manner, and saw this as “circumvention of national security decision making processes.”
An argument for impeachment is that Trump withheld aid from Ukraine because he was not sure or confident that Zelensky would cooperate with Trump and his demands:
“On 18 July, an Office of Management and Budget (OMB) official informed Departments and Agencies that the President “earlier that month” had issued instructions to suspend all U.S. security assistance to Ukraine. Neither OMB nor the NSC staff knew why this instruction had been issued. During interagency meetings on 23 July and 26 July, OMB officials again stated explicitly that the instruction to suspend this assistance had come directly from the President, but they still were unaware of a policy rationale. As of early August, I heard from U.S. officials that some Ukrainian officials were aware that U.S. aid might be in jeopardy, but I do not know how or when they learned of it.”