The Washington Post is reporting Donald Trump, during a communication with a foreign leader, allegedly made a ‘promise’ of some kind that triggered a report from a U.S. intelligence official.
Trump’s interaction with the foreign leader included a “promise” that was regarded as so troubling that it prompted an official in the U.S. intelligence community to file a formal whistleblower complaint with the inspector general for the intelligence community, said the former officials, speaking on the condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to discuss the matter publicly.
It was not immediately clear which foreign leader Trump was speaking with or what he pledged to deliver, but his direct involvement in the matter has not been previously disclosed. It raises new questions about the president’s handling of sensitive information and may further strain his relationship with U.S. spy agencies. One former official said the communication was a phone call.
Intelligence Community Inspector General Michael Atkinson determined that the complaint was credible and troubling enough to be considered a matter of “urgent concern,” a legal threshold that requires notification of congressional oversight committees.
But acting director of national intelligence Joseph Maguire has refused to share details about Trump’s alleged transgression with lawmakers, touching off a legal and political dispute that has spilled into public view and prompted speculation that the spy chief is improperly protecting the president.
In the weeks prior to the whistleblower’s complaint, White House records indicate communications between Trump and five world leaders, including a phone call with Russian President Vladimir Putin at the end of July.
As the Post points out, Trump has been a bit sloppy when handling classified intel in the past.
In May 2017, he shared “classified information about espionage operations in Syria to senior Russian officials in the Oval Office, disclosures that prompted a scramble among White House officials to contain the potential damage.”
Trump took to Twitter to ask, without a trace of irony, if anybody is “dumb enough to believe that I would say something inappropriate with a foreign leader?”
….Knowing all of this, is anybody dumb enough to believe that I would say something inappropriate with a foreign leader while on such a potentially “heavily populated” call. I would only do what is right anyway, and only do good for the USA!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) September 19, 2019
(lead image via White House Flickr/Public Domain)