The Department of Justice on Wednesday confirmed that the Office of Intelligence Community Inspector General ruled the so-called “whistleblower” who issued a complaint regarding President Donald Trump’s discussions with foreign leaders possessed a “political bias” that was “in favor of a rival political candidate.”
According to a memo released by the Justice Department Office of Legal Counsel on Wednesday, the inspector general stated that it received a complaint of “urgent concern,” though the OLC determined the matter “does not involve an ‘urgent concern’” or require that the national intelligence director send the complaint to House and Senate intelligence committees.
The OLC memo reads that the so-called “whistleblower” exhibited signs of “political bias,” yet the inspector general still found the still-anonymous individual to be credible.
“Although the ICIG’s preliminary review found ‘some indica of an arguable political bias on the part of the Complainant in favor of a rival political candidate,’ the ICIG concluded that the complaint’s allegations nonetheless appeared credible,” reads the opinion.
Fox News correspondent Ed Henry was first to report on the allegations of “political bias” in favor of a Trump rival on Tuesday evening.
Further, the inspector general for the intelligence community wrote to the director of national intelligence in August that he believed the conversation between President Trump and Ukraine’s leader could have been a federal campaign finance violation because the president could have been soliciting a campaign contribution from a foreign government, a Justice Department official said.
The whistleblower — a member of the intelligence community — said in their complaint that they had heard the information from “White House officials,” but did not have firsthand knowledge of the call, the Justice Department official said.
Prosecutors from the department reviewed a transcript of the call and determined the president did not violate campaign finance law. The determination was made based on the elements of the allegation, and there was no consideration of the department’s policy that a sitting president cannot be indicted, the official said.
Justice Department spokeswoman Kerri Kupec said the attorney general was first notified of Trump’s conversation with the Ukrainian president “several weeks after the call took place,” when the department received the referral about potential criminal conduct.
“The president has not spoken with the attorney general about having Ukraine investigate anything relating to former Vice President Biden or his son. The president has not asked the attorney general to contact Ukraine — on this or any other matter,” the spokeswoman said.
Lawmakers have been demanding details of the whistleblower’s complaint, but the acting director of national intelligence, Joseph Maguire, has refused to share that information, citing presidential privilege. He is to testify Thursday before the House, and lawmakers are expected to have access to details of the complaint beforehand in a classified setting.
The complaint has set off a stunning turn of American political events, leading House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) to yield to mounting pressure from fellow Democrats on the impeachment inquiry.
Congress’ probe focuses partly on whether President Trump abused his presidential powers and sought help from a foreign government to undermine Biden and help his own re-election. Pelosi said such actions would mark a “betrayal of his oath of office” and declared, “No one is above the law.”
Meanwhile, the White House released a transcript Wednesday of a phone call between President Trump and Zelensky that’s at the center of the impeachment investigation.
House Democrats are examining the call to determine whether President Trump threatened to withhold aid to Ukraine in exchange for Zelensky’s government investigating the family of 2020 Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden. Tens of millions in military aid was ultimately released to Ukraine this month, but investigators want to know what prompted Trump to threaten to withhold payment.
According to the five-page transcript, there were several references to Biden, but neither President Trump nor Zelensky discussed authorized military aid payments. They did discuss Biden’s son, Hunter, who worked for a Ukraine gas company between 2014 and early this year.
As Breitbart News reported earlier this year, Biden forced out former Ukrainian prosecutor Viktor Shokin as he was investigating an energy company called Burisma Holdings, which was paying Biden handsomely as a member of its board. The former vice president even boasted to the Council of Foreign Relations last year that he had threatened to withhold $1 billion in U.S. aid unless the prosecutor was fired. (He did not tell the audience about his son’s role.) Conservatives claim Biden obstructed justice to protect his son — who enriched himself using his father’s prestige.
“There’s a lot of talk about Biden’s son, that Biden stopped the prosecution and a lot of people want to find out about that so whatever you can do with the attorney general would be great,” President Trump told Zelensky. “Biden went around bragging that he stopped the prosecution so if you can look into it … it sounds horrible to me.”
Following the transcript’s release, the president mocked Democrats in a tweet, writing: “Will the Democrats apologize after seeing what was said on the call with the Ukrainian President? They should, a perfect call – got them by surprise!”
The Associated Press and UPI contributed to this report.