Washington, Sep 26 (IANS) US Senate Intelligence Committee Chairman Richard Burr said that the whistleblower complaint alleging President Donald Trump’s inappropriate interactions with a foreign leader was delivered to the committee, according to US media reports.
CNN reported that Burr, a Republican, made the remarks as he headed for votes on Capitol Hill. He added that he had started reading the documents but didn’t provide his impression.
The whistleblower complaint, filed by an unidentified intelligence official, alleged that Trump interacted inappropriately with a foreign leader and made an unspecified “promise.”
The whistleblower complaint was filed with the inspector general of the intelligence community, an independent watchdog, but had previously been withheld by Acting Director of National Intelligence Joseph Maguire from Congress. Congressional committees probing the matter have demanded access to the whistleblower complaint.
Maguire and Michael Atkinson, the inspector general, are expected to testify before the Senate Intelligence Committee later this week. Maguire is also is scheduled to appear before the House Intelligence Committee on Thursday, according to a report by The Hill.
Denying any wrongdoing, Trump said at a press conference in New York on Wednesday afternoon that he told House Republicans he fully supported transparency on the whistleblower information.
Maguire on Wednesday disputed a report of The Washington Post that he threatened to resign if he was pressured to stonewall the complaint.
“At no time have I considered resigning my position since assuming this role on Aug. 16, 2019,” he said. “I have never quit anything in my life, and I am not going to start now.”
During a closed-door briefing on the whistleblower complaint last week, Atkinson reportedly referenced “a sequence of events” and “alleged actions” that took place. He, however, stopped short of confirming those instances involved Trump.
The complaint and a phone call in July between Trump and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky led to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi announcing Tuesday that her chamber launched a formal impeachment inquiry into the president.
The White House on Wednesday released a rough transcript of the Trump-Zelensky phone conversation.
Trump slammed the impeachment inquiry after the release, saying that it is “a disgraceful thing,” that the transcript suggested he put “no pressure” on Zelensky, and that the call “turned out to be a nothing call.”
According to the transcript, Trump pushed Zelensky to investigate into how Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden in 2016 stopped a prosecution of a Ukrainian gas company which might be related to his son, Hunter Biden.
It also revealed that Trump asked his Ukrainian counterpart to do the United States a “favor” by looking into a congressional testimony by Special Counsel Robert Mueller, who investigated whether Russia interfered into the 2016 US election and whether Trump obstructed justice. The president said “a lot of” issues surrounding the testimony “started with Ukraine.”
“I fully support transparency on so-called whistleblower information,” Trump tweeted Wednesday afternoon. Meanwhile, he said he insisted on transparency from Biden, his son, and the Democrats with regard to their interactions with the Ukrainian authorities.
Biden, for his part, issued a statement on the phone call transcript, saying Trump “implored the President of Ukraine to work with his personal attorney to manufacture a smear against a domestic political opponent.”
He said Trump’s behaviour was a “tragedy” for the United States and constituted “a national security issue.”