Whistleblower alleges White House coverup

By Meg Wagner, Veronica Rocha, Amanda Wills, Mike Hayes and Fernando Alfonso III, CNN

Updated 8:37 p.m. ET, September 26, 2019
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9:14 a.m. ET, September 26, 2019

What we know and don't know about the whistleblower

The whistleblower complaint has been released to the public.

Here's what we know and don't so far about the whistleblower:

  • This person has tentatively agreed to meet with Congressional lawmakers.
  • The whistleblower is not scheduled to appear before Congress, a source said.
  • Lawmakers have not been told the identity of the whistleblower or where the complainant works in the government

9:12 a.m. ET, September 26, 2019

NOW: Director of National Intelligence testifies

Acting Director of National Intelligence Joseph Maguire is testifying before the House Intelligence Committee.

Maguire is facing intense scrutiny amid a widening controversy surrounding his handling of a whistleblower complaint regarding President Trump.

Yesterday, the Washington Post reported that Maguire threatened to resign if the White House tried to restrict his testimony before Congress.

He denied the report with this statement:

“At no time have I considered resigning my position since assuming this role on Aug. 16, 2019. I have never quit anything in my life, and I am not going to start now. I am committed to leading the Intelligence Community to address the diverse and complex threats facing our nation.”
9:06 a.m. ET, September 26, 2019

White House allies worry Trump is without strategy on the impeachment inquiry

From CNN's Kaitlan Collins, Kevin Liptak, Pam Brown and Jeremy Diamond

Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images
Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

Questionable rapid-pace decisions spurred by President Trump himself have left some his allies wondering if there's a cogent strategy in place to counter Democrats in the wake of the fast-moving impeachment inquiry, people familiar with the matter say.

Some people close to him believe the President is in denial about the gravity of his predicament.

A depleted West Wing now faces another storm that's likely to distract from the few policy goals aides were hoping to accomplish by year's end.

And the President himself — even after months of anticipation — has nonetheless taken the impeachment developments hard.

At a fundraiser Wednesday night, Trump greeted some of his longtime friends, who'd paid thousands of dollars to attend, with disbelief at what had unfolded, according to a person who was there. 

After two-and-a-half years of weathering incremental developments in the Russia investigation that did not trigger an impeachment inquiry, the speed at which the Ukraine scandal unfolded has left Trump and his aides whiplashed.

Many White House officials said they were in disbelief at how rapidly Democrats have sped up their impeachment inquiry against Trump. For years, the constant drumbeat of impeachment loomed over the White House, but officials now feel like the ground has shifted beneath them.

9:07 a.m. ET, September 26, 2019

Whistleblower says State officials spoke with Rudy Giuliani to "contain the damage" to national security

From CNN's Katelyn Polantz

US officials had been concerned, the whistleblower said, with Trump's private lawyer Rudy Giuliani's contact with Ukraine.

The whistleblower alleges the US officials believed Giuliani was a conduit for messages between the President and officials in Kyiv.

Two US State Department officials had spoken with Giuliani "in an attempt to 'contain the damage' to US national security," the whistleblower writes. 

The State Department officials also met with Ukrainian leaders to grasp differing messaging they were receiving from US officials versus Giuliani, the whistleblower wrote.

The complaint also describes how on the day after the president’s call with the Ukraine leader, State officials met with Ukrainian political figures and provided advice “about how to “navigate” the demands that the President had made of Mr. Zelenskyy.”

9:04 a.m. ET, September 26, 2019

Whistleblower lists witnesses to the July call

The whistleblower says the call between the president and the Ukrainian president on July 25th was not restricted because it was “expected to be 'routine.'"

He lists various people who were on the call and read in on the call after it happened including at the White House, State Department and intelligence community.

8:58 a.m. ET, September 26, 2019

Whistleblower said Trump instructed Vice President Pence to cancel plans to travel to Ukraine

From CNN's David Shortell

The whistleblower says he or she learned from US officials that President Trump instructed Vice President Mike Pence to cancel planned travel to Ukraine to attend President Volodymyr Zelensky's inauguration in May.

Instead he sent Secretary of Energy Rick Perry to lead the delegation, according to the declassified complaint. 

The whistleblower also said he or she learned from the US officials that Trump did not want to meet himself with Zelensky until Trump saw how Zelensky "chose to act" in office, the complaint says. 

8:52 a.m. ET, September 26, 2019

Whistleblower said White House officials intervened to "lock down" records of July 25 call

From CNN's Tammy Kupperman and Mike Callahan 

In the days following the July phone call, the whistleblower learned from multiple US officials that senior White House officials had intervened to “lock down: all records of the phone call, especially the official word-for-word transcript of the call that was produced as is customary by the White House Situation Room. This set of actions underscored to me that White House officials understood the gravity of what had transpired in the call.” 

The whistleblower continued: 

“White House officials told me that they were “directed” by White House lawyers to remove the electronic transcript from the computer system in which such transcripts are typically stored for coordination, finalization, and distribution to Cabinet-level officials. 

Instead the transcript was loaded into a separate electronic system that is otherwise used to store and handle classified information of any especially sensitive nature. 

One White House official described this act as an abuse of this electronic system because the call did not contain anything remotely sensitive from a national security perspective.

8:50 a.m. ET, September 26, 2019

Whistleblower said White House officials were "deeply disturbed" by the Trump-Ukraine call

The whistleblower wrote that the July 25 call — which he describes details similar to the transcript released by the White House on Wednesday — left White House officials “disturbed by what had transpired.” 

The complaint notes White House lawyers were “already in discussion” about “how to treat the call because of the likelihood, in the officials’ retelling, that they had witnessed the president abuse his office for personal gain.”

8:48 a.m. ET, September 26, 2019


President Trump tweeted just after the whistleblower's complaint against him was released.