As House Democrats break for Thanksgiving after two weeks of grueling live testimony by a number of witnesses in the impeachment inquiry into President Donald Trump, a new report on Tuesday suggested that the president was well aware that a whistleblower complaint was filed against him before he released a U.S. military aid package to Ukraine.
According to The Hill, two unnamed sources who are familiar with the events that took place told The New York Times that White House attorneys briefed the president about a whistleblower complaint as early as August, which prior to when he decided to release the nearly $400 million military aid package that was eventually released in September.
Lawyers, at the time, were reportedly attempting to determine whether or not they were required to pass the complaint along to members of the U.S. Congress.
However, the newspaper pointed out that it’s unclear how much the president knew about the complaint at the time he was informed of it.
The anonymous whistleblower’s complaint would later be known to the public in September and would eventually set in motion a formal impeachment inquiry issued by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi.
The White House reportedly didn’t respond for comment for either The Hill or The New York Times as of this writing.
The potentially bombshell-level news came on the same day that House Democrats released several additional transcripts from previous closed-door testimonies from witnesses involved in the ordeal, including testimony from White House Office of Management and Budget official Mark Sandy. Sandy said that he was the recipient of a forwarded email from July 12 indicating that Trump had ordered a freeze on the military aid package.
New documents show that the White House was scrambling to find a legal justification for withholding aid to Ukraine AFTER Trump had already ordered the hold and AFTER the whistleblower complaint was made. This is a corrupt administration. #ExposeThetruth #ImpeachmentInquiry pic.twitter.com/28a4WdnN4b— Steve Cohen (@RepCohen) November 25, 2019
If the report is accurate, the freeze allegedly ordered by the president would have been several weeks prior to his July 25 phone call with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky. The anonymous whistleblower’s complaint alleged that the phone call was inappropriate. This suggests that Trump initiated a “quid pro quo” with the foreign leader that involved Ukraine opening an investigation into Trump’s political rival and former Vice President Joe Biden, along with his son, Hunter Biden.
Trump, along with a vast majority of his Republican allies in both chambers of Congress, have insisted that the call was perfectly legal and that no “quid pro quo” or bribery had taken place.
While the live version of the impeachment inquiry may be over for now, House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff recently indicated that his committee may, in fact, interview more witnesses in the near future and hold additional televised testimonies, as reported by The Inquisitr.