Whistleblower wrote memo describing Trump-Ukraine call — live updates

White House says Trump will not comply with House impeachment inquiry

Key facts and latest news

  • CBS News has learned the full contents of what appears to be a memo written by the whistleblower one day after Mr. Trump spoke with the Ukrainian president in July. Read more here.
  • The White House said Tuesday it will not cooperate with the House impeachment inquiry, rejecting demands for documents and testimony.
  • On a July call between Mr. Trump and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, Mr. Trump urged Ukraine to investigate Joe Biden. Before the call, the president instructed acting chief of staff Mick Mulvaney to hold off on releasing military aid to Ukraine that had been appropriated by Congress.
  • Soon after the July call, White House officials moved a record of the call to a highly classified computer system, severely restricting who could access it.

Washington — CBS News has learned the full contents of what appears to be a memo written by the whistleblower one day after President Trump spoke with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky in July.

The memo, dated July 26, is based on a conversation the whistleblower had with an unnamed White House official who listened to the call.

“The official described the call as ‘crazy,’ ‘frightening’ and ‘completely lacking in substance related to national security,'” the memo states. “The official asserted that the President used the call to persuade Ukrainian authorities to investigate his political rivals, chiefly former Vice President Biden and his son, Hunter.”

According to a source familiar with the matter, the memo was among the factors that led the intelligence community inspector general to determine the whistleblower’s formal August 12 complaint was credible. The inspector general testified Friday behind closed doors before the three House committee leading the impeachment inquiry.

On Tuesday, the White House told House Democrats it will not comply with demands for documents and testimony in Democrats’ impeachment inquiry, setting up a legal showdown between the two branches of government.

“You have designed and implemented your inquiry in a manner that violates fundamental fairness and constitutionally mandated due process,” White House counsel Pat Cipollone wrote in an eight-page letter to Speaker Nancy Pelosi and the chairmen of the committees leading the inquiry on Tuesday.

Cipollone argued the investigation is “invalid” because there has not been a formal vote to open an impeachment inquiry. He said the inquiry clearly seeks “to influence the election of 2020” and has “no legitimate basis.” The letter also condemned Congressman Adam Schiff, the chairman of the House Intelligence Committee and a frequent target of the president.


Read the whistleblower’s memo about Trump’s Ukraine call, as described to CBS News

3:06 p.m.: CBS News has learned the full contents of what appears to be a memo written by the whistleblower one day after Mr. Trump spoke with the Ukrainian president in July.

The memo, dated July 26, is based on a conversation the whistleblower had with an unnamed White House official who listened to the call.

According to a source familiar with the matter, the memo was among the factors that led the intelligence community inspector general to determine the whistleblower’s formal August 12 complaint was credible. The inspector general testified Friday behind closed doors before the three House committee leading the impeachment inquiry.

Read the full memo as described to CBS News here. — Arden Farhi


​Biden calls for Trump’s impeachment for the first time

1:50 p.m.: The former vice president, speaking in New Hampshire, said for the first time that the president “should be impeached.”

“Donald Trump has violated his oath of office, betrayed this nation and committed impeachable acts,” Biden said. “He should be impeached.”

Read the full story here.


​Fox News drops Trey Gowdy

12:57 p.m.: Former Congressman Trey Gowdy, who the president’s outside legal team is considering bringing on board, has been dropped by Fox News.

A Fox News spokesperson said Gowdy “has been terminated and is no longer a contributor.” — Fin Gomez


​New Jersey Democrat hears from constituents over support for impeachment inquiry

12:25 p.m.: A New Jersey Democratic congressman’s support for the impeachment inquiry came up at a town hall during Congress’ two-week recess. Congressman Josh Gottheimer’s district went for the president in 2016. CBS News political reporter Caitlin Huey-Burns spoke to Gottheimer about what his constituents are saying:

New Jersey Democrat’s support for impeachment inquiry brought up at town hall

Trump calls for exposure of whistleblower

7:30 a.m.: The president took to Twitter to call for the exposure of the anonymous whistleblower whose complaint is central to the impeachment inquiry.

Mr. Trump later claimed that Schiff should be “impeached” despite the fact that sitting members of Congress do not go through impeachment proceedings.

Representatives and senators can be expelled from office by a two-thirds vote of the House or Senate respectively or disciplined in other ways.


Pelosi blasts White House’s “unlawful” obstruction of impeachment inquiry

6:30 a.m.: In response to a letter from the White House saying it would not comply with the impeachment inquiry, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi accused the White House of trying to “normalize lawlessness.”

White House counsel Pat Cipollone’s letter to Pelosi and the three House committee chairmen leading the impeachment inquiry informed House Democrats that the White House would not cooperate with the inquiry until it is formalized with a floor vote.

Pelosi called the letter from the White House counsel “manifestly wrong” and “unlawful.”

In her response, she warned that continued efforts to “hide the truth” will be regarded as “further evidence of obstruction.”

“Mr. President, you are not above the law. You will be held accountable,” Pelosi wrote.


Giuliani suggests he’d like to testify before Congress

6:15 a.m.: In his latest appearance on “Fox News,” Trump attorney Rudy Giuliani spoke with Fox host Laura Ingraham and said he’d consult the president on whether he should testify in the Senate about President Trump’s conversations with the Ukrainian president.

Giuliani has been invited to testify before the Senate by Trump supporter and Senate Judiciary Chairman Lindsey Graham. Graham told Fox News’ “Fox and Friends” this morning that he spoke with Giuliani yesterday about appearing.

“He’s claiming to have a lot of evidence about corruption in the Ukraine that ties back to the Democrats that’s apart from what the House is looking at,” Graham said. “The House could care less about fairness. Schiff is not looking for the truth,” Graham said of House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff.

Graham said Giuliani would be “respectfully treated” in his committee, and at the end of the day, he plans to “shed light on all things Ukraine.”

“I’m going to ask my colleagues in the Senate, Republicans, to sign a letter to Nancy Pelosi saying we do not believe the transcript of the phone call between the president and the Ukraine is an impeachable offense,” Graham said.

Giuliani would not confirm whether or not he’ll testify. He told Ingraham that although he would love to testify, he needs to weigh this decision with the president.

He has told The Washington Post he “can’t imagine” other administration officials cooperating with the House investigation, however.

“I wouldn’t testify in front of that committee until there is a vote of Congress and he is removed,” Giuliani said, referring to Schiff, the committee’s chairman.


​Democrats subpoena Sondland for documents and testimony

Trump administration blocks ambassador from testifying

Tuesday, 6:12 p.m.: House Democrats issued a subpoena for Sondland, the ambassador to the E.U., demanding documents and testimony about his involvement in the Ukraine matter. Democrats set a deadline of October 14 for Sondland to produce documents to the House Intelligence Committee, and scheduled a deposition for October 16.

“Your failure or refusal to comply with the subpoena, including at the direction or behest of the President, the White House, or the State Department, shall constitute further evidence of obstruction of the House’s impeachment inquiry and may be used as an adverse inference against you and the President,” three committee chairs wrote in a letter to Sondland. — Stefan Becket


​White House says it won’t cooperate with impeachment inquiry

Donald Trump
President Trump speaks before awarding the Medal of Freedom to former Attorney General Edwin Meese during a ceremony in the Oval Office at the White House on October 8, 2019. Getty

Tuesday, 5:06 p.m.: White House counsel Pat Cipollone sent a letter to Speaker Nancy Pelosi and three House committee chairmen saying the White House will not cooperate with the House’s impeachment inquiry because the investigation “violates fundamental fairness and constitutionally mandated due process.”

Cipollone accused the Democrats of cooking up an inquiry to “overturn the results of the 2016 election and deprive the American people of the President they have freely chosen.”

“Your highly partisan and unconstitutional effort threatens grave and lasting damage to our democratic institutions, to our system of free elections, and to the American people,” Cipollone wrote.

Cipollone argued the investigation is “invalid” because there has not been a formal vote to open an impeachment inquiry. He also wrote that the inquiry clearly seeks “to influence the election of 2020” and has “no legitimate basis.”

“We hope that, in light of the many deficiencies we have identified in your proceedings, you will abandon the current invalid efforts to pursue an impeachment inquiry and join the President in focusing on the many important goals that matter to the American people,” Cipollone concluded. — Grace Segers


​Giuliani says he won’t cooperate with House as Graham asks him to testify in the Senate

Tuesday, 5:02 p.m.: The president’s personal attorney, Rudy Giuliani, appeared poised to defy a subpoena by the House Intelligence Committee to provide documents by October 15. Giuliani told The Washington Post he “can’t imagine” other administration officials cooperating with the investigation.

“I wouldn’t testify in front of that committee until there is a vote of Congress and he is removed,” Giuliani said, referring to Schiff, the chairman.

Giuliani’s comments come after Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Lindsey Graham invited him to testify before the committee regarding his allegations about the Bidens in Ukraine.

“Have heard on numerous occasions disturbing allegations by @RudyGiuliani about corruption in Ukraine and the many improprieties surrounding the firing of former Prosecutor General Viktor Shokin,” Graham wrote on Twitter, referring to unsubstantiated allegations that former Vice President Joe Biden pushed for Shokin to be removed because Shokin was investigating a company with ties to Biden’s son, Hunter Biden.

“Given the House of Representatives’ behavior, it is time for the Senate to inquire about corruption and other improprieties involving Ukraine. … Therefore I will offer to Mr. Giuliani the opportunity to come before the Senate Judiciary Committee to inform the committee of his concerns,” Graham said.

In an interview with The Washington Post, Giuliani said he was “very interested in accepting Graham’s offer.” Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer also expressed interest in Giuliani’s potential testimony, with the caveat that Giuliani would have to testify under oath. — Grace Segers

​Trey Gowdy under consideration to join Trump’s outside legal team

Tuesday, 4:26 p.m.: Former Republican Congressman Trey Gowdy is under consideration to join Mr. Trump’s outside legal team, which is seeking to expand amid the impeachment inquiry.

Gowdy, a state and former federal prosecutor, is seen as a potentially valuable TV and legal spokesperson for the president. Gowdy served as the chair of the House Oversight Committee until the beginning of this year, and did not seek reelection in 2018. — Major Garrett


​House lawyer says impeachment inquiry extends beyond Ukraine

Tuesday, 2:48 p.m.: A lawyer for the House told a federal judge that Democrats’ impeachment inquiry extends beyond the Ukraine controversy and includes potential obstruction of justice by the president.

Over the course of two hours in U.S. District Court in Washington, government lawyers on opposing sides of an effort to obtain secret grand jury proceedings illustrated the evolving nature of the House’s impeachment inquiry.

Douglas Letter, the lawyer for the House, urged the judge to grant the House Judiciary Committee access to currently redacted material in the special counsel’s report, specifically the underlying grand jury material collected during the Mueller investigation, and FBI documents. Elizabeth Shapiro, a Justice Department lawyer, opposed releasing the grand jury information, and argued certain FBI documents contain confidential communications between White House advisers and should remain redacted.

Letter argued the House impeachment inquiry extends beyond the circumstances surrounding the president’s call with Ukraine, pointing to the fact that the Judiciary and Intelligence Committees had already opened informal impeachment probes before House Speaker Nancy Pelosi launched an official inquiry.

“[An] impeachment inquiry was already going on,” Letter said in response to questioning by Chief Judge Beryl Howell. — Clare Hymes


​Senate Intelligence Committee releases report on Russian use of social media

Tuesday, 1:45 p.m.: The Senate Intelligence Committee released the second volume of its bipartisan report on Russian interference in the 2016 election, detailing Russian use of social media to stoke division among the American public.

Among its findings:

  • The Internet Research Agency, the Russian-backed disinformation group, “sought to influence the 2016 U.S. presidential election by harming Hillary Clinton’s chances of success and supporting Donald Trump at the direction of the Kremlin.”
  • “Russia’s targeting of the 2016 U.S. presidential election was part of a broader, sophisticated, and ongoing information warfare campaign designed to sow discord in American politics and society.”
  • “The IRA targeted not only Hillary Clinton, but also Republican candidates during the presidential primaries. For example, Senators Ted Cruz and Marco Rubio were targeted and denigrated, as was Jeb Bush.”
  • “No single group of Americans was targeted by IRA information operatives more than African-Americans. By far, race and related issues were the preferred target of the information warfare campaign designed to divide the country in 2016.”

Read the full report here.


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