President Trump on Friday freshly denied having had a “dicey” phone call with a foreign leader that is central to a potentially explosive whistleblower complaint, and he blamed the controversy on “Radical Left Democrats and their Fake News Media partners.”
In morning tweets, Trump also asserted, without citing any evidence, that the complaint itself was “highly partisan.”
His comments followed reports that the complaint by an intelligence official centers on Ukraine and that Trump spoke with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky 2 ½ weeks before it was filed.
Democrats and journalists “think I may have had a ‘dicey’ conversation with a certain foreign leader based on a ‘highly partisan’ whistleblowers statement,” Trump said in a tweet that did not name Zelensky but seemed to allude to that conversation. “Strange that with so many other people hearing or knowing of the perfectly fine and respectful conversation, that they would not have also come forward. Do you know the reason why they did not? Because there was nothing said wrong, it was pitch perfect!”
The whistleblower complaint involved communications with a foreign leader and a “promise” that Trump made, which so alarmed a U.S. intelligence official who had worked at the White House that the person went to the inspector general of the intelligence community, two former U.S. officials said.
Trump’s July 25 call with Zelensky is already under investigation by House Democrats, who are examining whether Trump and his attorney, Rudolph W. Giuliani, sought to manipulate the Ukrainian government into helping Trump’s reelection campaign. Lawmakers have demanded a full transcript and a list of participants on the call.
The Democrats’ investigation was launched earlier this month, before revelations that an intelligence official had lodged a complaint with the inspector general. The Washington Post first reported on Wednesday that the complaint had to do with a “promise” that Trump made when communicating with a foreign leader.
In his morning tweets Wednesday, Trump singled out one of the Democrats key to the investigation, House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam B. Schiff (Calif.).
The president asserted that the “Radical Left Democrats and their Fake News Media partners, headed up again by Little Adam Schiff, and batting Zero for 21 against me, are at it again!”
On Thursday, Schiff warned of possible legal action Thursday if intelligence officials did not share the whistleblower complaint.
Speaking to reporters, Schiff called acting director of national intelligence Joseph Maguire’s refusal to share the complaint with Congress “unprecedented” and said he understood the Justice Department was involved in that decision.
“We cannot get an answer to the question about whether the White House is also involved in preventing this information from coming to Congress,” Schiff said, adding: “We’re determined to do everything we can to determine what this urgent concern is to make sure that the national security is protected.”
Someone, Schiff said, “is trying to manipulate the system to keep information about an urgent matter from the Congress. . . . There certainly are a lot of indications that it was someone at a higher pay grade than the director of national intelligence.”
Ellen Nakashima, Shane Harris, Greg Miller and Carol D. Leonnig contributed to this report.