8 Takeaways From the Whistle-Blower Complaint
WASHINGTON — The House Intelligence Committee on Thursday released a declassified version of a whistle-blower complaint about President Trump’s effort to press the leader of Ukraine to launch an investigation into former Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr., a leading contender for the 2020 Democratic presidential nomination.
众议院情报委员会(House Intelligence Committee)周四公布了检举人举报信的解密版，内容涉及特朗普总统敦促乌克兰领导人对前副总统小约瑟夫·R·拜登(Joseph R. Biden Jr.)展开调查，拜登目前还在2020年民主党总统候选人提名竞逐中领先。
It also released a letter from the intelligence community’s inspector general that investigated the complaint and found that it was credible and raised an urgent concern. These files, and the Trump administration’s efforts to block Congress and the public from seeing them, have led to heightened calls among Democrats to impeach Mr. Trump.
Here are takeaways from the newly disclosed files.
1. White House officials believed they had witnessed Trump abuse his power for personal political gain.
In a July 25 phone call with the Ukrainian president, Mr. Trump brought up American aid to that country — without explicitly mentioning that he had just frozen a military aid package of hundreds of millions of dollars — and then pressed the Ukrainian leader to investigate Mr. Biden. After that call, multiple White House officials told the whistle-blower that they were concerned that Mr. Trump was abusing the power of the presidency “to solicit interference from a foreign country in the 2020 U.S. election.”
2. White House lawyers tried to hide the reconstructed call transcript — and had done so before.
The whistle-blower writes that White House lawyers “directed” White House officials to remove records of the July 25 call from the system where such documents are normally stored and place it instead in a system for storing highly classified information, like files related to covert actions, even though it did not meet the criteria, in order to limit the number of officials who could see it. A White House official told the whistle-blower that it was an “abuse” of that system to instead use it to hide politically sensitive information.
And in an appendix to the complaint, the whistle-blower wrote that White House officials had said this was “not the first time” that a presidential transcript had been treated in that way, “solely for the purpose of protecting politically sensitive — rather than national security sensitive — information.”
The complaint does not name the White House lawyers. But they would certainly either work for or include the top attorney there — Mr. Trump’s White House counsel, Pat A. Cipollone.
举报信没有提及相关白宫律师的名字。但可以肯定要么是白宫级别最高的律师——特朗普的白宫法律顾问帕特·A·希波隆(Pat A. Cipollone)的下属，要么他本人也包括在内。
3. The State Department saw Giuliani’s rogue outreach to Ukraine for Trump as a threat to national security.
The whistle-blower recounts the struggles by the senior United States diplomats to deal with the confusion created by the president dispatching his personal lawyer, Rudolph W. Giuliani, to pressure Ukrainian officials to develop dirt against the Bidens, both in the run-up to the July 25 call and its aftermath. Multiple officials said that Ukrainian leadership was led to believe that any meeting or phone call between Mr. Trump and Ukraine’s new president would depend on whether the latter was willing to “play ball” on Mr. Giuliani’s demands.
这名检举人讲述了美国高级外交官极力处理总统所造成的混乱——为了收集不利于拜登父子的材料，他通过7月25日的通话以及之后派私人律师鲁道夫·W·朱利安尼(Rudolph W. Giuliani)向乌克兰官员施压。多名官员表示，乌克兰领导层因此认为，特朗普与乌克兰新总统之间的任何会晤或者电话，都将取决于后者是否愿意“配合”朱利安尼的要求。
4. Trump’s push for investigations coincided with a “sudden change of policy with respect to U.S. assistance for Ukraine.”
This is one of two manifestations of pressure on Ukraine by the Trump administration in advance of the July 25 call. The whistle-blower cautioned that he or she did not know for certain whether this action was connected with the broader understanding that Mr. Trump wanted Mr. Zelensky to “play ball” on Mr. Giuliani’s demands. The whistle-blower recounted the episode in a partly redacted appendix along with a discussion of Mr. Trump’s blocking of the military aid package Congress appropriated to help Ukraine defend itself from Russian aggression:
The appearance that Mr. Trump was using foreign policy as leverage to pressure Ukraine into producing dirt on a political rival is at the heart of the calls to impeach him.
5. A widely criticized Ukrainian prosecutor piqued Trump’s and Giuliani’s interest by floating allegations to The Hill — but then backtracked.
The whistle-blower traces Mr. Trump’s July 25 call back to claims put forward by a former top Ukrainian prosecutor, Yuriy Lutsenko, and his allies to a conservative opinion contributor for The Hill, John Solomon, in the spring of 2019. Mr. Solomon is known for writing investigative-style pieces that foster a narrative that Mr. Trump’s enemies are up to nefarious misdeeds, which are often then amplified by the Fox News host Sean Hannity.
检举人将特朗普7月25日的通话追溯到乌克兰前最高检察官尤里·卢岑科(Yuriy Lutsenko)及其盟友在2019年春天向《国会山》(The Hill)报保守派的观点撰稿人约翰·所罗门(John Solomon)提出的说法。所罗门以撰写调查风格的文章而闻名，它们营造出特朗普的敌人正在酝酿不法行为的叙事，而这些说法又往往会被福克斯新闻(Fox News)主持人肖恩·汉尼蒂(Sean Hannity)加以放大。
In a video interview and several articles, Mr. Solomon floated a number of claims by Mr. Lutsenko, including that Ukrainian officials had illegally colluded with Democrats to interfere in the 2016 presidential election to help Hillary Clinton, purportedly by leaking financial records that prompted the resignation of Mr. Trump’s campaign chairman, Paul Manafort. Mr. Solomon also amplified Mr. Lutsenko’s assertion that the Obama-appointed ambassador to Ukraine, a longtime career diplomat, had given Mr. Lutsenko a “do not prosecute list.” A third claim that Mr. Solomon put forth was Mr. Lutsenko’s allegation that Mr. Biden had pushed to fire a previous top Ukrainian prosecutor, Victor Shokin, in order to quash a purported criminal investigation into a Ukrainian company on whose board his son Hunter Biden sat.
在视频采访和几篇文章之中，所罗门提到了卢岑科的一些说法，包括乌克兰官员同民主党非法勾结，在2016年总统大选中帮助希拉里·克林顿(Hillary Clinton)，卢岑科称他们泄露财务记录，促使特朗普的竞选主席保罗·马纳福特(Paul Manafort)辞职。所罗门还进一步强调了卢岑科的说法，即奥巴马任命的驻乌克兰大使——一名长期职业外交官给了卢岑科一份“不起诉名单”。所罗门提出的第三项指控是卢岑科声称拜登曾推动解雇乌克兰前最高检察官维克托·绍金(Victor Shokin)，平息对一家乌克兰公司的所谓刑事调查。他的儿子亨特·拜登(Hunter Biden)曾是这家公司的董事。
In fact, the Obama administration, Western supporters of Ukraine and anti-corruption activists all wanted Mr. Shokin out because he was widely seen as an obstacle to reform and refused to bring corruption cases. The State Department called Mr. Lutsenko’s claim about a do-not-prosecute list “an outright fabrication,” and in May Mr. Lutsenko walked back his allegations about the Bidens, stating that there was no evidence they had done anything wrong.
Mr. Lutsenko, who succeeded Mr. Shokin, was initially seen as a better prosecutor, but his image tarnished over time. The whistle-blower complaint noted that, “Mr. Lutsenko has no legal training and has been widely criticized in Ukraine for politicizing criminal probes and using his tenure as Prosecutor General to protect corrupt Ukrainian officials.” But Mr. Trump and Mr. Giuliani remained intent on investigating what he had told Mr. Solomon. The State Department has since recalled the ambassador, and in the July 25 phone call, Mr. Trump was apparently referring to Mr. Lutsenko when he told the Ukrainian president that, “I heard you had a prosecutor who was very good and he was shut down and that’s really unfair.”
On Thursday, Mr. Solomon defended his work, tweeting, “I stand by my stories 100 percent.”
6. The whistle-blower raised concerns about Barr’s involvement.
In the complaint, the whistle-blower said he had heard from other officials that Mr. Trump, in his July 25 call, urged the Ukrainian president to work with Attorney General William P. Barr in investigating the Bidens.
在检举信中，检举人表示，他从其他官员那里听说，特朗普在7月25日的电话中敦促乌克兰总统与（美国）司法部长威廉·P·巴尔(William P. Barr)合作，调查拜登父子。
This was accurate, according to a reconstructed transcript of the call made public on Wednesday; among other things, it says that Mr. Trump told the Ukrainian president, “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. Biden went around bragging that he stopped the prosecution so if you can look into it...”
And after Mr. Zelensky promised to have his new top prosecutor open the investigations that Mr. Trump was demanding, and asked if the United States had any information it could share for that purpose, Mr. Trump thanked him and said, “I will tell Rudy and Attorney General Barr to call.”
A senior Justice Department official said this week that the White House had not directed Mr. Barr to investigate the Bidens, but would not say whether or not there was any such investigation.
7. The inspector general kept the whistle-blower’s identity secret.
This passage, which comes from the letter by Michael Atkinson, the inspector general for the intelligence community, shows he withheld the identity of the whistle-blower when transmitting the complaint to Joseph Maguire, the acting director of national intelligence, with the expectation that Mr. Maguire would then send it to Congress under a whistle-blower law. Mr. Maguire and the Trump administration initially refused to do so, although they relented this week. Mr. Maguire testified on Thursday that he still does not know the identity of the whistle-blower.
来自情报部门监察长迈克尔·阿特金森(Michael Atkinson)的信件段落，表明他将检举信发送给代理国家情报总监约瑟夫·马奎尔(Joseph Maguire)时隐瞒了检举人的身份，希望马奎尔依照检举人法，将检举信提交给国会。马奎尔和特朗普政府最初拒绝这么做，尽管他们在本周做出了让步。马奎尔于周四作证说，他仍然不知道检举人的身份。
8. The inspector general flagged mitigating information, but concluded the complaint was urgent and credible.
This passage, also from Mr. Atkinson’s letter, acknowledges that the whistle-blower did not have direct knowledge of the July 25 call and suggests that the whistle-blower may not support Mr. Trump politically. But Mr. Atkinson, a Trump appointee, nevertheless concluded after a preliminary investigation that the information the whistle-blower put forward was credible and raised an urgent concern that Congress needed to see.