House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, who on Tuesday announced that the House had begun a formal impeachment inquiry into the president, said Thursday that President Donald Trump and his administration were engaged in a “cover-up” following the public release of a whistleblower complaint leveled against the president Thursday.
In an appearance before reporters, Pelosi read from the official whistleblower complaint, noting that while it was made public Thursday morning, she read the complaint for the first time on Wednesday, the day after she announced the formal impeachment inquiry into Trump.
“The complaint states that the White House tried to lock down all records of the call, especially the word-for-word transcript,” the California Democrat said before reporters on Thursday while Acting Director of National of National Intelligence Joseph Maguire was grilled before Congress about the report and his decision to withhold it from Congress for a month.
“That gave the whistleblower reason to believe that they – the White House – understood the gravity of what transpired in that call. The complaint reports a ‘repeated abuse of an electronic records system designed to store classified, sensitive national security information,’ which the White House used to hide information of a political nature. This is a cover-up. This is a cover-up,” Pelosi said.
As The Inquisitr reported earlier, the official complaint was released Thursday morning following a week of news reports about the complaint regarding a July 25 call where the president asked Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky to look into accusations made against one of his 2020 political rivals, former Vice President Joe Biden. The complaint was filed August 12.
According to that report, the whistleblower, who was not a part of the call, but claimed to have been told about it by some of the nearly dozen individuals they said were in on the call, filed the complaint due to an “urgent concern” over what transpired on the call. According to the previous report from The Inquisitr, the whistleblower alleges the president asked the Ukrainian leader to investigate former Vice President Joe Biden and his son, Hunter Biden. He also alleged the president asked him to help find evidence that linked allegations of Russian interference in the 2016 election to Ukraine. The whistleblower also said that Trump urged Zelensky to meet with Trump’s personal attorney, Rudy Giuliani, and U.S. Attorney General William Barr.
Prior to the release of the official whistleblower complaint on Thursday, the White House proactively released a summary transcript of the call between the two world leaders Wednesday. The transcript confirms that the president asked Zelensky about Biden, the 2016 election, and mentioned both Giuliani and Barr.
The whistleblower, however, alleges that the president and administration officials attempted to “lock down” the entire transcript of the call using systems meant for classified information. The whistleblower said this was done more than once to protect the president from scrutiny over potentially damaging political information.
Trump will be just the third president to ever face impeachment from the House. Before Trump, Presidents Richard Nixon, Andrew Jackson, and Bill Clinton all faced impeachment proceedings. Both Jackson and Clinton were impeached by the U.S. House, though neither president was removed from office by the Senate, which requires a super-majority conviction from the Senate following a trial. While he faced impeachment, Nixon resigned before the proceedings could begin, per Heavy.