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‘Anything short of whistleblower complaint is more obstruction’: Expert critics warn about Trump’s Ukraine ‘transcript’

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(AFP / Nicholas Kamm)

While Trump claims conversation with Ukraine president was ‘totally friendly,’ Chairman Schiff says whistleblower willing and ready to testify

As calls for impeachment among lawmakers, politicians, and the general public reached a boiling point ahead of what could be crucial caucus meeting with House Democrats on Tuesday afternoon, President Donald Trump announced that he has authorized the declassification and release of the transcription of a call he had with Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelensky on July 25 of this year.

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“Anything short of whistleblower complaint is more obstruction.”
—Marcy Wheeler, journalist
“I am currently at the United Nations representing our Country, but have authorized the release tomorrow of the complete, fully declassified and unredacted transcript of my phone conversation with President Zelensky of Ukraine,” Trump tweeted from New York.

“You will see,” the president continued, “it was a very friendly and totally appropriate call. No pressure and, unlike Joe Biden and his son, NO quid pro quo! This is nothing more than a continuation of the Greatest and most Destructive Witch Hunt of all time!”

As the Washington Post notes, the president’s decision to release a transcript of the call “follows nearly a week of speculation around what he specifically asked for during a call that an intelligence official found so problematic he filed an official complaint.”

In addition to the transcript, however, national security journalist and expert Marcy Wheeler was among those who argued that what also must be released is the whistleblower complaint that sits at the heart of the controversy. The possibility that Trump had put a quid pro quo before Zelensky during the July call only became publicly known because of a filed whistleblower complaint that the acting Director of National Intelligence, Joseph Maguire, has so far refused to share with members of the House Intelligence Committee—despite statute requiring him to do so.

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“Anything short of whistleblower complaint is more obstruction,” Wheeler said.

She was far from alone.

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Meanwhile, just a short time after Trump’s announcement, Rep. Adam Schiff (D-Calif), chair of the House Intelligence Committee, announced that his office had been in touch with the lawyer’s representing the whistleblower who said that their client is willing to testify about the complaint.

“We have been informed by the whistleblower’s counsel that their client would like to speak to our committee and has requested guidance from the Acting DNI as to how to do so,” Schiff tweeted. “We’re in touch with counsel and look forward to the whistleblower’s testimony as soon as this week.”

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