Fact Check: Hakeem Jeffries Accuses Trump of ‘Cover up’ over Ukraine Transcript He Released

U.S. Senate

CLAIM: President Donald Trump engaged in a “cover up” because of the way the administration handled the transcript of the Ukraine call.

VERDICT: FALSE. Trump declassified and released the transcript.

House impeachment manager Rep. Hakeem Jeffries (D-NY) accused President Donald Trump of a “cover up” on Friday because of the way the administration handled the transcript of his July 25 telephone call with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky.

Jeffries sketched a vague conspiracy theory, in which he suggested that unnamed senior White House officials had tried to hide the transcript of the Ukraine call on a secure sever for nefarious political reasons.

The obvious fact that refutes Jeffries’s claim is that President Trump took the unprecedented step of releasing the transcript of his conversation with a foreign leader. Democrats, basing their accusations on the inaccurate complaint of the “whistleblower,” who only heard about the Ukraine call from others, went ahead with their impeachment inquiry Sep. 24 after Trump already announced he had declassified the transcript and would release it the next day.

But Jeffries tried to argue that the transcript was hidden before that. He cited the testimony of former National Security Council (NSC) official Tim Morrison, who said that he asked NSC counsel to place the transcript on a secure server because he was concerned it would be misused politically (as it was). Morrison explained later that the transcript was placed on an even more secure system than he intended because of internal “administrative error.”

But Jeffries denied that could be true. “They tried to bury the call summary. They tried to bury it,” he told the Senate. He said it was suspicious that NSC counsel did not fix the mistake after the transcript was put on the wrong server.

Jeffries declared: “[S]omeone was trying to hide it. It was not until the launch of the House impeachment inquiry in late September and after intense public pressure that the rough transcript of the July 25 call was released.” That is false: the inquiry was launched at about 5:00 p.m. ET, after Trump announced the declassification at 2:12 p.m. ET.

He said the evidence “strongly suggests there was an active attempt to conceal the clear evidence of the president’s wrongdoing.” He pointed the finger directly at NSC counsel John Eisenberg, whom he accused of a cover up.

Jeffries demanded: “Who ordered the cover up of the call record? Who ordered the cover up of the call record? The American people deserve to know.”

Notably, the articles of impeachment say nothing about allegations of covering up the Ukraine call. Nor would they, because the president took the unprecedented step of releasing it. He has insisted, over and over again, that people “READ THE TRANSCRIPTS” to see for themselves. And there is nothing in the evidentiary record to support allegations that Trump, Eisenberg, or anyone else, covered it up.

Joel B. Pollak is Senior Editor-at-Large at Breitbart News. He earned an A.B. in Social Studies and Environmental Science and Public Policy from Harvard College, and a J.D. from Harvard Law School. He is a winner of the 2018 Robert Novak Journalism Alumni Fellowship. He is also the co-author of How Trump Won: The Inside Story of a Revolution, which is available from Regnery. Follow him on Twitter at @joelpollak.


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