President Donald Trump had a phone conversation with Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelensky on July 25, 2019. Eighteen days later, a whistleblower filed a complaint alleging the president had pressured Zelensky into investigating former Vice President Joe Biden, who is running for president, and his son, Hunter over their dealings in the country while Joe was vice president.
It is still unclear why it took the whistleblower 18 days to report such an allegedly egregious abuse of presidential power. Intelligence Community Inspector General Michael Atkinson couldn’t explain why it took more than two weeks for the whistleblower to file the complaint.
Fox News reported that during Atkinson’s congressional testimony, he could not explain the delay in reporting “ or when exactly the whistleblower contacted a key Democrat’s staff, sources familiar with the testimony told Fox News.”
Atkinson also said during his testimony, according to Fox sources, that the whistleblower did not disclose that he or she had contact with Rep. Adam Schiff’s (D-CA) office prior to filing the complaint.
Schiff said multiple times that he did not know the identity of the whistleblower and that neither he nor his staff had spoken to the whistleblower. The Washington Post gave Schiff Four Pinocchios for his claims, since it was revealed that the whistleblower reached out to Schiff’s staff prior to filing the complaint. The whistleblower did not acknowledge that this contact had been made, in possible violation of the law. The whistleblower did, however, acknowledge to Atkinson that he or she was a registered Democrat and had a prior working relationship with one of the Democratic primary candidates, though it is unclear which one.
The nine-page complaint included an appendix, which Fox suggested may have led to the lengthy time between the call and the filing. The whistleblower also apparently talked with people familiar with the call, further explaining the window.
Fox reported that in “order to assess the credibility of the complaint, Atkinson’s office conducted a preliminary investigation that included interviews with a handful of witnesses, sources said, including two of the whistleblower’s supervisors.” One of the witnesses interviewed “was described as having direct knowledge of the transcript process and handling,” the outlet added.
After news of the whistleblower complaint launched intense media speculation, Trump released the transcript of the call, which showed he did not pressure Ukraine in any way. He did bring up the Bidens during the call, but he did not pressure Zelensky to look into the matter.
Democrats and their media counterparts have alleged that Trump withheld military aid from Ukraine in exchange for the country investigating the Bidens and the origins of the claim that Trump colluded with Russia to win the presidency in 2016. Ukraine officials have said they were unaware that military had been withheld until a month after they received it, and former Ambassador Kurt Volker said Trump was actually concerned with corruption in Ukraine when he hesitated to provide aid.
Further, Democrats have not acknowledged that Biden actually admitted and bragged about withholding aid to Ukraine in exchange for the country firing its top prosecutor, who happened to be investigating a company that employed Biden’s son at the time.