Whistleblower complaint declassified on eve of high-stakes testimony

The whistleblower complaint at the center of the political firestorm involving President Trump‘s contacts with Ukraine’s leader has been declassified, a member of the House Intelligence Committee announced late Wednesday.

“BREAKING NEWS: The whistleblower complaint has been declassified. I encourage you all to read it,” tweeted Rep. Chris Stewart (R-Utah). 

Another source familiar with the matter told The Hill shortly before Stewart’s announcement that the declassification process was complete.

The source said that while the declassification process is completed, details about the public release of the complaint remain unclear. The complaint is also expected to have some redactions, according to the source. 

The complaint revolves around Trump’s July 25 call with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky. In the call, Trump asked Zelensky to do him a “favor” and later pressed the foreign leader to investigate former Vice President Joe Biden, a leading contender for the Democratic presidential nomination, according to a readout of the call released Wednesday by the White House.

House Democrats who a day earlier launched a formal impeachment inquiry saw the readout as bolstering their case.

The declassification comes hours after members of the House Intelligence Committee reviewed its contents behind closed doors, and on the eve of acting Director of National Intelligence (DNI) Joseph Maguire’s public testimony before the panel about his handling of the allegations.

Maguire, who has argued that the complaint falls outside the intelligence community (IC) whistleblower statute, declined to initially provide the committee with the complaint after consulting with the Justice Department, a move that sparked a standoff between the DNI and Congress.

IC Inspector General Michael Atkinson, who disagreed with Maguire, had deemed the allegations both credible and urgent and raised the handling of the complaint behind closed doors with the intelligence committees earlier this week.

Republicans and Democrats left the closed-door hearing offering differing accounts of the same document.

Democrats described the complaint as “deeply troubling” and “concerning,” but they offered little more about the nature of the allegations regarding Trump’s efforts.

Republicans, on the other hand, called for the complaint’s public release, stating that they do not believe Trump committed an impeachable offense.

“I do not support impeachment of President Trump,” Rep. Elise Stefanik (R-N.Y.), a member of the House Intelligence Committee, tweeted. “I have just read the whistleblower complaint made available to House Intelligence Committee Members. I believe strongly in transparency and it should be immediately declassified and made public for the American people to read.”

Other GOP members have said that while they find the complaints concerning, the partial transcript makes clear there was no quid pro quo offered by Trump, who had delayed military aid to Ukraine in the weeks before his call with Zelensky.

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