Congress and the Southern District of New York are not the only people investigating President Donald Trump’s dealings with Ukraine, the White House has launched an inquiry of their own, The New York Times reported Tuesday.
“President Trump has for weeks sought to unmask the whistle-blower who shed light on his Ukraine dealings. But instead aides have fixated on one another: Advisers began a fact-finding review that some fear is a hunt for a scapegoat, according to White House aides and other people familiar with it,” the newspaper reported. “They are seeking to understand White House officials’ actions around Mr. Trump’s July 25 call with President Volodymyr Zelensky of Ukraine, which is central to the whistle-blower’s allegation that Mr. Trump abused his power.”
John Eisenberg is reportedly at the center of the investigation.
“The lawyers’ inquiry centers on why one of their colleagues, the deputy White House counsel John A. Eisenberg, placed a rough transcript of the call in a computer system typically reserved for the country’s most closely guarded secrets,” The Times reported. “Eisenberg reacted angrily to suggestions that he is under scrutiny, according to two people told of his response.”
The origins of the investigation are murky.
“It was not clear who sought the review,” the paper noted. “The acting White House chief of staff, Mick Mulvaney, has encouraged it, and his aides are helping the White House Counsel’s Office, led by Pat Cipollone, the people said. Aides in the two offices have otherwise been at odds since the transcript was released, according to administration officials.”
The publication of the report in The New York Times destroyed one of Trump’s talking points.
“The existence of the review also threatens Mr. Trump’s narrative that his call with Mr. Zelensky was “perfect.” Instead, the review underscores the evidence that he bent foreign policy to his personal advantage by pressing Mr. Zelensky to open investigations that could damage his political opponents,” The Times noted.
Read the full report.