Trump allies urge release of transcript at center of whistleblower controversy – Washington Examiner
Some key administration officials are urging President Trump to release the transcript of a conversation with Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelensky that is at the center of a growing whistleblower controversy.
Those officials believe public disclosure of what was said on the call would quell accusations that Trump broke the law or acted improperly by pressing Zelensky to investigate Trump rival Joe Biden’s son. The Wall Street Journal reported that Trump urged Zelensky “about eight times” to help Trump lawyer Rudy Giuliani probe the business dealings of Hunter Biden.
The officials think release of the transcript would show definitively that Trump did nothing illegal. The president’s adversaries, determined to use the issue to demand his impeachment, might still argue that he acted inappropriately, but release of the president’s precise words, the officials believe, would make it more difficult for critics to claim that Trump did something wrong.
The officials also believe the public should know the circumstances of the whistleblower complaint. The complaint is hearsay because the author did not have direct knowledge of the substance of the complaint but rather heard it from someone else. Being hearsay does not totally invalidate a complaint, but some officials believe it weakens the alleged whistleblower’s case.
The bottom line is that the officials believe public release of the transcript would be in President Trump’s best interest.
There are also administration officials who oppose public release. The content of the president’s conversation with Zelensky, like all presidential conversations with foreign leaders, is privileged. Small portions of it might also be classified. Opponents of public release say that if the Trump-Zelensky transcript were made public, foreign leaders could have no confidence that their talks with Trump would be confidential.
The whistleblower controversy focuses on a decision by the Director of National Intelligence not to give the whistleblower complaint to the House and Senate intelligence committees. The intelligence community inspector general, who first received the complaint, judged it to be legitimate and passed it on to the director’s office. The law directs that the complaint then be given to Congress. But the acting director, Joseph Maguire, consulted the Justice Department, which ruled that the complaint did not meet standards of disclosure to lawmakers. A still-unresolved impasse ensued.
Democrats are demanding the complaint be turned over. Some Democrats and NeverTrumpers who already support impeaching the president immediately added the whistleblower complaint to their list of reasons Trump should be removed from office. The topic consumed hours of time on cable news.
The controversy has mushroomed even as no one knows precisely what Trump and Zelensky said. In the absence of real knowledge, an informed debate about the call is impossible. That is one reason why some members of the administration want the transcript made public.