DOJ: Whistleblower Had An ‘Arguable Political Bias’ Against Trump And Relied On ‘Hearsay’

Trump’s phone call with Ukraine’s president is central to the complaint. The White House released a transcript of that call Wednesday.

The intelligence community inspector general found that the whistleblower behind a complaint against President Donald Trump had indications of “an arguable political bias” in favor of a Trump political opponent and also relied on “hearsay” to file allegations against the Republican, according a Justice Department legal opinion released Wednesday.

The document is not entirely favorable to Trump.

Intelligence Community Inspector General (ICIG) Michael Atkinson found the whistleblower complaint “credible” and “urgent,” according to Steven A. Engel, the head of DOJ’s Office of Legal Counsel, and referred it to DOJ for possible investigation into whether Trump illegally sought foreign assistance for the 2020 election during a phone call that is at the center of the complaint.

“According to the ICIG, statements made by the President during the call could be viewed as soliciting a foreign campaign contribution in violation of the campaign-finance laws,” Engel wrote, adding:

“The ICIG said that Trump’s actions could involve a ‘serious or flagrant problem,’ ‘abuse,’ or violation of law, and the ICIG observed that federal law prohibits any person from soliciting or accepting a campaign contribution or donation from a foreign national.”

Atkinson also asserted that allegations in the complaint “could potentially expose the official to serious national security and counterintelligence risks,” according to Engel.

The Justice Department ultimately decided against opening an inquiry into whether Trump broke the law and also blocked the complaint from being sent to Congress. Lawyers at the agency determined the complaint did not fall under the category of an “urgent” situation covered by laws governing intelligence community whistleblowers.

Details of the complaint has spilled into public view over a standoff over whether to provide the information to Congress. Atkinson believed the document should be sent to lawmakers, however, the Justice Department disagreed and blocked Acting Director of National Intelligence Joseph Maguire from doing so.

Facing political pressure from impeachment-seeking Democrats, the White House caved Wednesday and released a transcript of a July 25 phone call with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky that is at the center of the whistleblower complaint. The White House is also reportedly considering providing the complaint to Congress this week.

The DOJ opinion is sure to provide fodder to both Trump supporters and Trump critics over the significance of the whistleblower complaint, which was submitted to the ICIG on Aug. 12.

Written by Chuck Ross

Chuck Ross is a contributor to The Schpiel.

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