Trump: I said nothing wrong to foreign leader

Trump: I said nothing wrong to foreign leader

Donald Trump has defended himself against a whistleblower’s complaint involving a reported private conversation he had with a foreign leader.

The complaint, which the administration has refused to let Congress see, is “serious” and “urgent”, the government’s intelligence watchdog said, but the president said he has done nothing wrong.

Some of the whistleblower’s allegations appear to centre on Ukraine, according to the Washington Post and the New York Times.

In a tweet today, Mr Trump did not reference Ukraine or any other country, but said “there was nothing said wrong” during a “perfectly fine and respectful conversation”.

The stand-off raises fresh questions about the extent to which Mr Trump’s allies are protecting the Republican president from oversight and, specifically, whether his new acting director of national intelligence, Joseph Maguire, is working with the Justice Department to shield the president from the reach of Congress.

It also plunged the Mr Trump administration into an extraordinary showdown with Congress over access to the whistleblower’s complaint as legislators press their oversight of the executive branch.

The administration is keeping Congress from even learning what the whistleblower is alleging, but the intelligence community’s inspector general said the matter involves the “most significant” responsibilities of intelligence leadership. A legislator said the complaint was “based on a series of events”.

The inspector general appeared before the House Intelligence Committee behind closed doors on Thursday but declined, under administration orders, to reveal the substance of the complaint.

Adam Schiff, the Democratic chairman of the committee, said he was prepared to go to court to try to force the Trump administration to open up about the complaint.

“The inspector general has said this cannot wait,” said Mr Schiff, describing the administration’s blockade as an unprecedented departure from law.

“There’s an urgency here that I think the courts will recognise.”

Mr Schiff said he could not confirm whether newspaper reports were accurate because the administration was claiming executive privilege in withholding the complaint, but letters from the inspector general to the committee released on Thursday said it was an “urgent” matter of “serious or flagrant abuse” that must be shared with legislators.

The letters also made it clear that Mr Maguire consulted the Justice Department in deciding not to transmit the complaint to Congress in a further departure from standard procedure. It is unclear whether the White House was also involved, Mr Schiff said.

Mr Trump on Thursday dismissed it all, noting that others would be aware of the call.

“Is anybody dumb enough to believe that I would say something inappropriate with a foreign leader while on such a potentially ‘heavily populated’ call?”

House Democrats are fighting the administration separately for access to witnesses and documents in impeachment probes.

Democrats are also looking into whether Trump lawyer Rudy Giuliani travelled to Ukraine to pressure the government to aid the president’s re-election effort by investigating the activities of potential rival Joe Biden’s son Hunter, who worked for a Ukrainian gas company.

During an interview on CNN, Mr Giuliani was asked whether he had asked Ukraine to look into Mr Biden. Mr Giuliani initially said: “No, actually I didn’t,” but seconds later he said: “Of course I did.”

- Press Association

More on this topic

Trump cancels plan to host G7 at his golf resortTrump cancels plan to host G7 at his golf resort

Confronted by impeachment, Trump adds to the chaosConfronted by impeachment, Trump adds to the chaos

White House admits linking Ukraine military aid to Democratic probeWhite House admits linking Ukraine military aid to Democratic probe

US envoy says Trump gave Giuliani role on Ukraine policyUS envoy says Trump gave Giuliani role on Ukraine policy

More in this Section

New imaging technology to help show how tumours formNew imaging technology to help show how tumours form

High pollution days ‘lead to more cardiac arrests, strokes and asthma attacks’High pollution days ‘lead to more cardiac arrests, strokes and asthma attacks’

Scientists come together in quest to stop cancer from occurring in first placeScientists come together in quest to stop cancer from occurring in first place

New Orleans sets off blasts to demolish cranes at collapsed hotelNew Orleans sets off blasts to demolish cranes at collapsed hotel


Lifestyle

'When a role became available in The River Lee following the refurbishment, I jumped at the chance!'You've Been Served: Sinead McDonald of The River Lee on life as a Brand Manager

It’s the personal stories from Bruce Springsteen that turn his new ‘Western Stars’ documentary into something special, the director tells Esther McCarthy.Bruce Springsteen's Western Stars documentary more than just a music film

Apart from the several variations in its spelling in Irish and English, Inishtubbrid, Co Clare is also recognised by three other names: Wall’s Island; O’Grady’s Island and Inishtubber which surely puts it up there as the island with most names — not counting say Inisvickillane, Co Kerry which has about 33 variations to that spelling.The Islands of Ireland: In search of tranquility

More and more communities and volunteers are taking on environmental tasks around the country. In Clonmel, Co Tipperary, for example, people have united to get rid of Himalayan balsam, an invasive plant, from the banks of the River Suir.‘Bashing’ invasive plants

More From The Irish Examiner