'As Bad, If Not Worse, Than Watergate': Whistleblower Complaint Alleges Massive White House Cover-Up

September 11, 2020 0 By JohnValbyNation

The Thursday morning release of the official whistleblower complaint at the heart of a controversy which has triggered an official impeachment inquiry against President Donald Trump intensified concern among Democrats and outside critics who say the complaint goes beyond a single phone call by alleging a wider White House conspiracy to cover it up.

“Sounds like the cover-up and the crime are both impeachable,” tweeted Sludge reporter Alex Kotch.

“Instead of hiring burglars to investigate political rival Trump asked a foreign government to do it for him and then tried to cover it up.”
—Ari Berman, Mother Jones

As Common Dreams reported, the scandal stems from a July phone call between Trump and Zelensky in which Trump asked the Ukrainian president for a “favor”—to investigate Biden’s son Hunter’s employment by Ukrainian gas company Burisma Holdings from 2014 to 2019.  A memorandum of a condensed version of the conversation was released Wednesday. 

During a Thursday hearing of the House Intelligence Committee featuring Acting Director of National Intelligence Joseph Maguire, Rep. Joaquin Castro (D-Texas) said that the complaint indicates that the cover-up is aimed at concealing the knowing criminal behavior of the administration. 

“The whistleblower complaint has exposed a criminal effort to extort political dirty work from a foreign government, and a massive cover-up orchestrated by the White House,” said Castro.

The complaint (pdf) alleges that, after the call, White House officials moved to put a word-for-word transcript of the conversation into a server separate from the normal one reserved for such matters. 

“In the days following the phone call, I learned from multiple U.S. officials that senior White House officials had intervened to ‘lock down’ all records of the phone call, especially the official word-for-word transcript of the call that was produced—as is customary—by the White House situation room,” the whistleblower writes in the complaint. 

Particularly, the complaint claims, intervention came from the administration’s legal counsel. 

“The public deserves to have full transparency regarding Trump’s abuse of office.”
—Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.)

“White House officials told me they were ‘directed’ by White House lawyers to remove the electronic transcript from the computer system in which such transcripts are typically stored for coordination, finalization and distribution to Cabinet-level officials,” says the whistleblower. 

Specifically implicated in the complaint are the president’s lawyer, Rudy Giuliani, and Attorney General William Barr.