Whistleblower memo shows White House official saying Trump-Ukraine call was ‘crazy’ and ‘frightening’
by Jerry Dunleavy & Daniel Chaitin
The first Ukraine whistleblower wrote a two-page memo one day after the controversial phone call between President Trump and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky detailing secondhand information provided by a White House official.
The notes, reported by Fox News on Monday, describe that July 25 conversation in more alarming terms than what appears in the whistleblower complaint, filed nearly three weeks later with the Intelligence Community inspector general.
The White House official who spoke with the whistleblower described the call as “crazy,” “frightening,” and “completely lacking in substance related to national security,” according to the memo.
The memo stated, “The President did not raise security assistance” during his call with Zelensky, which was a central tenet of allegations raised in the Aug. 12 whistleblower complaint about a quid pro quo. Notes of the Trump-Zelensky call released by the White House do not show Trump bringing up millions of dollars in delayed security aid in exchange for investigations into his political rivals, including 2020 presidential candidate Joe Biden and his son, Hunter.
The whistleblower, who described the conversation with the unnamed White House official as lasting a “few minutes” and containing only the “highlights,” also said Zelenksy “reluctantly” agreed when Trump urged him to meet with his personal attorney Rudy Giuliani.
As seen in the Trump-Zelensky call notes, however, the Ukrainian leader brought up Giuliani first and said, “We are hoping very much that Mr. Giuliani will be able to travel to Ukraine and we will meet once he comes to Ukraine.”
Lawyers for the whistleblower did not immediately return the Washington Examiner‘s request for comment.
Although Trump did not appear to raise the issue of security assistance to Zelensky, the notes on his phone call show he asked for a “favor” from Ukraine in investigating a conspiracy theory related to the cybersecurity firm CrowdStrike, which determined the Russians hacked the Democratic National Committee’s emails, an assessment agreed to by the U.S. Intelligence Community, and also urged the Ukrainian leader to look into any Ukrainian involvement in the 2016 election. Trump brought up his request related to CrowdStrike immediately after Zelensky asked about purchasing anti-tank weaponry, known as Javelins, from the U.S. Trump also talked about “the other thing,” suggesting the Ukrainians investigate allegations of corruption related to the Bidens.
The complaint and recently released text messages between top U.S. officials also convey how security aid and the meeting between Trump and Zelensky might need to be predicated on the Ukrainian president agreeing to “play ball” on the investigations that Giuliani had undertaken. Trump claims he said nothing wrong in his “perfect” call with Zelensky and asserted his main concern was corruption, not politics.
The newly revealed memo offers another glimpse into the formation of the whistleblower’s complaint, which Intelligence Community Inspector General Michael Atkinson deemed credible and of “urgent” concern to national security.
Last week it was revealed that the whistleblower, who is reportedly a CIA official, first had a colleague go to the CIA’s top lawyer to convey accusations that Trump abused his power by pressuring Ukraine’s president to investigate the Biden family. Concerned his allegations would be ignored, the whistleblower then approached a House Intelligence Committee aide with vague details of what would appear in the complaint.
The aide shared some of what the whistleblower said to House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff but did not divulge the identity of the CIA officer. The whistleblower was advised to find a lawyer and file an official complaint.
GOP members of the panel are upset that Schiff had foreknowledge of the whistleblower’s complaint and misled them about what he knew. Republicans have also accused Democrats of making “cherry-picked” disclosures in their impeachment inquiry, which is centered on the Ukraine controversy.
In a closed-door briefing last week, Atkinson admitted the whistleblower did not tell him about making contact with House Intelligence Committee staff and said the official identified as a registered Democrat who had a working relationship with a Democratic politician. He also could not explain the 18-day gap between the July 25 phone call and the whistleblower filing the complaint.
The whistleblower has agreed to speak with the Democrat-led House Intelligence Committee, which is considering a variety of ways to keep the official’s identity concealed and is also in contact with the Senate Intelligence Committee.
The lawyers representing the whistleblower have raised concerns about their client’s safety. Andrew Bakaj, the lead attorney for the whistleblower, wrote to acting Director of National Intelligence Joseph Maquire late last month claiming his client was “in harm’s way” by Trump and his supporters.
Trump has said he wants to know the identity of the whistleblower and alluded to punishment for spies. “I want to know who’s the person who gave the whistleblower the information because that’s close to a spy,” the president said last month. “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.”
In recent days, a second whistleblower has come forward and is being represented by the same legal team led by Bakaj. Mark Zaid, another attorney is working with Bakaj, said the second whistleblower has firsthand knowledge of the events detailed in the first whistleblower’s complaint and has met with Atkinson.