He is accused of having made this request to Volodymyr Zelensky while Kyiv was waiting for the payment of a US $ 250 million military aid.
The report released by the White House on July 25, after a telephone conversation by Donald Trump with his Ukrainian counterpart, Volodymyr Zelensky, was foolishly laconic. The president of the United States congratulated his interlocutor for his victory in the presidential election, discussed with him ways to strengthen cooperation between the two countries, and considered a future meeting.
Perhaps it was missing from this communique the mention of a topic of conversation likely to create a new political storm in Washington. According to information published by the Wall Street Journal in the afternoon of Friday, September 20, Donald Trump would have taken advantage of this exchange to ask “on eight occasions” the Ukrainian President to launch investigations against the family of the Democratic candidate that he could face in November 2020, Joe Biden.
Two days ago, the Washington Post was the first to reveal that a whistleblower belonging to the US intelligence community had reported in early August the contents of a telephone discussion from the President to the Inspector General of National Intelligence, Michael Atkinson. Appointed by Donald Trump in 2018, the latter had deemed the information before him to be alarming enough to consider reporting it to Congress.
The acting director of national intelligence, Joseph Maguire, had objected, however, with the support of the Department of Justice. Heard in camera by the Intelligence Committee of the House of Representatives on Thursday, Michael Atkinson kept silence on behalf of his supervisory authority.
For months, relatives of Donald Trump openly try to urge the Ukrainian authorities to relaunch investigations considered potentially harmful for the Democratic camp. The first concerns the presence of Joe Biden’s son, Hunter, on the board of directors of a private gas company from 2014, at a time when his father was vice-president. The second refers to possible links between officials of the Ukrainian administration and emissaries of the Democratic Party. These links would have uncovered the tax and banking fraud that led to the conviction of Donald Trump’s campaign director at the prison.
Donald Trump vigorously contests. The President of the United States rejected, on Friday, September 20, the accusations of a whistleblower against him, at a time when elected officials are questioning the pressure he would have exerted on his Ukrainian counterpart to push him to investigate on the family of Democrat Joe Biden.
The folder, potentially explosive, remains surrounded by many gray areas. According to the Washington Post and the New York Times (paid articles), the conversation with a foreign leader reported by the whistleblower concerned Ukraine. Congressional politicians are wondering about a telephone conversation in July between the US president and his Ukrainian counterpart Volodymyr Zelensky.
According to the Wall Street Journal (paid article), Donald Trump, during this appeal, encouraged “about eight times” the Ukrainian President to investigate the son of Joe Biden and to collaborate to do this with his lawyer Rudy Giuliani. The second son of the former senator, Hunter Biden worked for a Ukrainian gas group from 2014, when his father was vice president of Barack Obama.
- “It’s a partial whistleblower”
“It’s ridiculous, it’s a partial whistleblower,” said Donald Trump from the Oval Office, while insisting he does not know his identity. “I had conversations with many leaders, they are always irreproachable,” he continued, very reassembled. Did he specifically mention Joe Biden with the Ukrainian president? “What I talked about does not matter,” he retorted.
He was careful to add that “someone should look into Joe Biden”, who could be his big rival in the 2020 presidential election. The favorite of the Democratic primary rejected all suspicion surrounding the affairs of his family in Ukraine, by hammering that “no credible media has [considered] credible this statement”.
Donald Trump’s statements against the whistleblower have outraged the Democratic leaders of four powerful congressional commissions, who have denounced a “shameless attempt” of intimidation that “may have a deterrent effect on future whistleblowers,” he said. with serious consequences for our democracy and national security “. They called on the White House to deliver “immediately” the contents of the report made by the whistleblower to the Intelligence Committee.
- “Serious and urgent issues”
Particularly troubling is a “promise” made by the White House tenant to a foreign leader, a whistleblower, himself a member of the intelligence services, made a report on August 12 to the Inspector General of Services information. But the information was not transmitted to the Congress in the time provided, raising questions about possible interventions. For Nancy Pelosi, Democratic president of the lower house of Congress, this information “raises serious and urgent issues for our national security”.
Ukraine elected in April to the presidency a comedian hitherto a novice in politics, Volodymyr Zelensky. The tete-a-tete between the latter and Donald Trump, scheduled Wednesday in New York on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly, will be, in the context of these revelations, scrutinized with particular attention.