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Westlake Legal Group > Posts tagged "Trump, Donald J" (Page 169)

Schiff Got Early Account of Accusations as Whistle-Blower’s Concerns Grew

WASHINGTON — The Democratic head of the House Intelligence Committee, Representative Adam B. Schiff of California, learned about the outlines of a C.I.A. officer’s concerns that President Trump had abused his power days before the officer filed a whistle-blower complaint, according to a spokesman and current and former American officials.

The early account by the future whistle-blower shows how determined he was to make known his allegations that Mr. Trump asked Ukraine’s government to interfere on his behalf in the 2020 election. It also explains how Mr. Schiff knew to press for the complaint when the Trump administration initially blocked lawmakers from seeing it.

The C.I.A. officer approached a House Intelligence Committee aide with his concerns about Mr. Trump only after he had had a colleague first convey them to the C.I.A.’s top lawyer. Concerned about how that initial avenue for airing his allegations through the C.I.A. was unfolding, the officer then approached the House aide. In both cases, the original accusation was vague.

The House staff member, following the committee’s procedures, suggested the officer find a lawyer to advise him and meet with an inspector general, with whom he could file a whistle-blower complaint. The aide shared some of what the officer conveyed to Mr. Schiff. The aide did not share the whistle-blower’s identity with Mr. Schiff, an official said.

“Like other whistle-blowers have done before and since under Republican and Democratic-controlled committees, the whistle-blower contacted the committee for guidance on how to report possible wrongdoing within the jurisdiction of the intelligence community,” said Patrick Boland, a spokesman for Mr. Schiff.

In his whistle-blower complaint, the officer said Mr. Trump pressured the Ukrainian government to investigate a host of issues that could benefit him politically, including one connected to the son of former Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr.

A reconstituted transcript released by the White House of a call between Mr. Trump and President Volodymyr Zelensky of Ukraine backed up the whistle-blower’s account, which was itself based on information from a half dozen American officials and deemed credible by the inspector general for the intelligence community, Michael Atkinson.

Mr. Trump, who has focused his ire on Mr. Schiff amid the burgeoning Ukraine scandal, wasted no time in trying to use the revelation about the whistle-blower’s attempt to alert Congress to try to denigrate his complaint. In a news conference in the East Room of the White House after this article was published, Mr. Trump called it a scandal that Mr. Schiff knew the outlines of the whistle-blower’s accusations before he filed his complaint.

“Big stuff. That’s a big story,” Mr. Trump said, waving a copy of the article in the air. “He knew long before and helped write it, too. It’s a scam,” the president added, accusing Mr. Schiff of helping the whistle-blower write his complaint. There is no evidence that Mr. Schiff did, and his spokesman said he saw no part of the complaint before it was filed.

The whistle-blower’s decision to offer what amounted to an early warning to the intelligence committee’s Democrats is also sure to thrust Mr. Schiff even more forcefully into the center of the controversy as a target of Mr. Trump’s.

Earlier on Wednesday, Mr. Trump said Mr. Schiff should be forced to resign for reading a parody of the Ukraine call at a hearing, an act Mr. Trump has called treasonous and criminal.

“We don’t call him shifty Schiff for nothing,” said Mr. Trump. “He’s a shifty, dishonest guy.”

Mr. Schiff’s aides followed procedures involving whistle-blower’s accusations, Mr. Boland said. They referred him to an inspector general and advised him to seek legal counsel.

Mr. Schiff never saw any part of the complaint or knew precisely what the whistle-blower would deliver, Mr. Boland said.

ImageWestlake Legal Group merlin_160649016_2802eb21-e005-4af5-bb57-cdf82734084b-articleLarge Schiff Got Early Account of Accusations as Whistle-Blower’s Concerns Grew Zelensky, Volodymyr United States Politics and Government Ukraine Trump, Donald J Trump-Ukraine Whistle-Blower Complaint and Impeachment Inquiry Schiff, Adam B Office of the Director of National Intelligence National Security Council Inspectors General House Committee on Intelligence Espionage and Intelligence Services Eisenberg, John A Classified Information and State Secrets central intelligence agency Atkinson, Michael K (1964- )

The C.I.A. officer expressed concerns that Mr. Trump had abused his power during a call with President Volodymyr Zelensky of Ukraine.CreditCarolyn Kaster/Associated Press

“At no point did the committee review or receive the complaint in advance,” he said. He said the committee received the complaint the night before releasing it publicly last week and noted that came three weeks after the administration was legally mandated to turn it over to Congress. The director of national intelligence, Joseph Maguire, acting on the advice of his top lawyer and the Justice Department, had blocked Mr. Atkinson from turning over the complaint sooner.

The future whistle-blower went to Mr. Schiff’s committee after he grew concerned about the first investigation he had touched off.

The C.I.A. officer first had a colleague take his concerns — in vague form — to the C.I.A.’s general counsel, Courtney Simmons Elwood, who began a preliminary inquiry by contacting a deputy White House counsel, alerting the White House that complaints were coming from the C.I.A.

As C.I.A. and White House lawyers began following up on the complaint, the C.I.A. officer became nervous, according to a person familiar with the matter. He learned that John Eisenberg, a deputy White House counsel and the legal adviser to the national security adviser, was among those scrutinizing his initial allegation.

Contacts in the National Security Council had also told the C.I.A. officer that the White House lawyers had authorized records of Mr. Trump’s call with Mr. Zelensky to be put in a highly classified computer system, meaning that the lawyers who were now helping the C.I.A. investigate the officer’s allegations were the same ones implicated in them. The officer has alleged that White House aides’ decision to store the call records more restrictively was itself an abuse of the system.

The C.I.A. officer decided the complaint he had brought to Ms. Elwood was at risk of being swept aside, prompting him to go to the lawmakers who conduct oversight of the intelligence agencies.

He followed the advice of Mr. Schiff’s aide and filed his complaint to Mr. Atkinson. And though Mr. Maguire blocked him from forwarding it to Congress, he did allow Mr. Atkinson to notify lawmakers of its existence.

The complaint was filed in consultation with a lawyer, officials said. “The intelligence community whistle-blower followed the advice of legal counsel from the beginning,” said Andrew Bakaj, the lead counsel for the whistle-blower. “The laws and processes have been followed.”

Filing a complaint with Mr. Atkinson gave the whistle-blower added protections against reprisals and also allowed him to legally report on classified information. While House Intelligence Committee members are allowed to receive classified whistle-blower complaints, they are not allowed to make such complaints public, according to a former official. A complaint forwarded to the committee by the inspector general gives it more latitude over what it can publicize.

By the time the whistle-blower filed his complaint, Mr. Schiff and his staff knew at least vaguely what it contained.

Mr. Schiff, after a private letter and phone call to Mr. Maguire, publicly released a letter seeking the complaint and suggested it could involve Mr. Trump or others in his administration. Mr. Schiff followed up by subpoenaing documents from Mr. Maguire and requesting him to testify before the intelligence committee.

Officials in Mr. Maguire’s office, who did not know the details of the complaint, were puzzled why Mr. Schiff went public right away, eschewing the usual closed-door negotiations.

But letters from the inspector general and Mr. Maguire had made clear to the House Intelligence Committee that the Justice Department and the White House were blocking the Mr. Maguire’s office from forwarding the complaint.

Congressional officials insisted that Mr. Schiff and his aides followed the rules. Whistle-blowers regularly approach the committee, given its role in conducting oversight of the intelligence agencies, Mr. Boland said.

“The committee expects that they will be fully protected, despite the president’s threats,” Mr. Boland said, referring to the whistle-blower without identifying his gender. “Only through their courage did these facts about the president’s abuse of power come to light.”

Real Estate, and Personal Injury Lawyers. Contact us at: https://westlakelegal.com 

Schiff Got Early Account of Accusations as Whistle-Blower’s Concerns Grew

WASHINGTON — The Democratic head of the House Intelligence Committee, Representative Adam B. Schiff of California, learned about the outlines of a C.I.A. officer’s concerns that President Trump had abused his power days before the officer filed a whistle-blower complaint, according to a spokesman and current and former American officials.

The early account by the future whistle-blower shows how determined he was to make known his allegations that Mr. Trump asked Ukraine’s government to interfere on his behalf in the 2020 election. It also explains how Mr. Schiff knew to press for the complaint when the Trump administration initially blocked lawmakers from seeing it.

The C.I.A. officer approached a House Intelligence Committee aide with his concerns about Mr. Trump only after he had had a colleague first convey them to the C.I.A.’s top lawyer. Concerned about how that initial avenue for airing his allegations through the C.I.A. was unfolding, the officer then approached the House aide. In both cases, the original accusation was vague.

The House staff member, following the committee’s procedures, suggested the officer find a lawyer to advise him and meet with an inspector general, with whom he could file a whistle-blower complaint. The aide shared some of what the officer conveyed to Mr. Schiff. The aide did not share the whistle-blower’s identity with Mr. Schiff, an official said.

“Like other whistle-blowers have done before and since under Republican and Democratic-controlled committees, the whistle-blower contacted the committee for guidance on how to report possible wrongdoing within the jurisdiction of the intelligence community,” said Patrick Boland, a spokesman for Mr. Schiff.

In his whistle-blower complaint, the officer said Mr. Trump pressured the Ukrainian government to investigate a host of issues that could benefit him politically, including one connected to the son of former Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr.

A reconstituted transcript released by the White House of a call between Mr. Trump and President Volodymyr Zelensky of Ukraine backed up the whistle-blower’s account, which was itself based on information from a half dozen American officials and deemed credible by the inspector general for the intelligence community, Michael Atkinson.

Mr. Trump, who has focused his ire on Mr. Schiff amid the burgeoning Ukraine scandal, wasted no time in trying to use the revelation about the whistle-blower’s attempt to alert Congress to try to denigrate his complaint. In a news conference in the East Room of the White House after this article was published, Mr. Trump called it a scandal that Mr. Schiff knew the outlines of the whistle-blower’s accusations before he filed his complaint.

“Big stuff. That’s a big story,” Mr. Trump said, waving a copy of the article in the air. “He knew long before and helped write it, too. It’s a scam,” the president added, accusing Mr. Schiff of helping the whistle-blower write his complaint. There is no evidence that Mr. Schiff did, and his spokesman said he saw no part of the complaint before it was filed.

The whistle-blower’s decision to offer what amounted to an early warning to the intelligence committee’s Democrats is also sure to thrust Mr. Schiff even more forcefully into the center of the controversy as a target of Mr. Trump’s.

Earlier on Wednesday, Mr. Trump said Mr. Schiff should be forced to resign for reading a parody of the Ukraine call at a hearing, an act Mr. Trump has called treasonous and criminal.

“We don’t call him shifty Schiff for nothing,” said Mr. Trump. “He’s a shifty, dishonest guy.”

Mr. Schiff’s aides followed procedures involving whistle-blower’s accusations, Mr. Boland said. They referred him to an inspector general and advised him to seek legal counsel.

Mr. Schiff never saw any part of the complaint or knew precisely what the whistle-blower would deliver, Mr. Boland said.

ImageWestlake Legal Group merlin_160649016_2802eb21-e005-4af5-bb57-cdf82734084b-articleLarge Schiff Got Early Account of Accusations as Whistle-Blower’s Concerns Grew Zelensky, Volodymyr United States Politics and Government Ukraine Trump, Donald J Trump-Ukraine Whistle-Blower Complaint and Impeachment Inquiry Schiff, Adam B Office of the Director of National Intelligence National Security Council Inspectors General House Committee on Intelligence Espionage and Intelligence Services Eisenberg, John A Classified Information and State Secrets central intelligence agency Atkinson, Michael K (1964- )

The C.I.A. officer expressed concerns that Mr. Trump had abused his power during a call with President Volodymyr Zelensky of Ukraine.CreditCarolyn Kaster/Associated Press

“At no point did the committee review or receive the complaint in advance,” he said. He said the committee received the complaint the night before releasing it publicly last week and noted that came three weeks after the administration was legally mandated to turn it over to Congress. The director of national intelligence, Joseph Maguire, acting on the advice of his top lawyer and the Justice Department, had blocked Mr. Atkinson from turning over the complaint sooner.

The future whistle-blower went to Mr. Schiff’s committee after he grew concerned about the first investigation he had touched off.

The C.I.A. officer first had a colleague take his concerns — in vague form — to the C.I.A.’s general counsel, Courtney Simmons Elwood, who began a preliminary inquiry by contacting a deputy White House counsel, alerting the White House that complaints were coming from the C.I.A.

As C.I.A. and White House lawyers began following up on the complaint, the C.I.A. officer became nervous, according to a person familiar with the matter. He learned that John Eisenberg, a deputy White House counsel and the legal adviser to the national security adviser, was among those scrutinizing his initial allegation.

Contacts in the National Security Council had also told the C.I.A. officer that the White House lawyers had authorized records of Mr. Trump’s call with Mr. Zelensky to be put in a highly classified computer system, meaning that the lawyers who were now helping the C.I.A. investigate the officer’s allegations were the same ones implicated in them. The officer has alleged that White House aides’ decision to store the call records more restrictively was itself an abuse of the system.

The C.I.A. officer decided the complaint he had brought to Ms. Elwood was at risk of being swept aside, prompting him to go to the lawmakers who conduct oversight of the intelligence agencies.

He followed the advice of Mr. Schiff’s aide and filed his complaint to Mr. Atkinson. And though Mr. Maguire blocked him from forwarding it to Congress, he did allow Mr. Atkinson to notify lawmakers of its existence.

The complaint was filed in consultation with a lawyer, officials said. “The intelligence community whistle-blower followed the advice of legal counsel from the beginning,” said Andrew Bakaj, the lead counsel for the whistle-blower. “The laws and processes have been followed.”

Filing a complaint with Mr. Atkinson gave the whistle-blower added protections against reprisals and also allowed him to legally report on classified information. While House Intelligence Committee members are allowed to receive classified whistle-blower complaints, they are not allowed to make such complaints public, according to a former official. A complaint forwarded to the committee by the inspector general gives it more latitude over what it can publicize.

By the time the whistle-blower filed his complaint, Mr. Schiff and his staff knew at least vaguely what it contained.

Mr. Schiff, after a private letter and phone call to Mr. Maguire, publicly released a letter seeking the complaint and suggested it could involve Mr. Trump or others in his administration. Mr. Schiff followed up by subpoenaing documents from Mr. Maguire and requesting him to testify before the intelligence committee.

Officials in Mr. Maguire’s office, who did not know the details of the complaint, were puzzled why Mr. Schiff went public right away, eschewing the usual closed-door negotiations.

But letters from the inspector general and Mr. Maguire had made clear to the House Intelligence Committee that the Justice Department and the White House were blocking the Mr. Maguire’s office from forwarding the complaint.

Congressional officials insisted that Mr. Schiff and his aides followed the rules. Whistle-blowers regularly approach the committee, given its role in conducting oversight of the intelligence agencies, Mr. Boland said.

“The committee expects that they will be fully protected, despite the president’s threats,” Mr. Boland said, referring to the whistle-blower without identifying his gender. “Only through their courage did these facts about the president’s abuse of power come to light.”

Real Estate, and Personal Injury Lawyers. Contact us at: https://westlakelegal.com 

‘We’re Not Fooling Around’: House Democrats Vow to Subpoena White House

WASHINGTON — House Democrats said Wednesday they planned to subpoena the White House by Friday if it did not comply with broad requests for documents related to President Trump’s efforts to pressure Ukraine into investigating a leading political rival, and any attempt by the administration to conceal his actions.

Representative Elijah E. Cummings of Maryland, the chairman of the Oversight and Reform Committee, notified his panel of the impending subpoena on Wednesday. He said the White House had thus far ignored voluntary requests he submitted with the House Intelligence and Foreign Affairs committees.

“I do not take this step lightly,” Mr. Cummings wrote. “Over the past several weeks, the committees tried several times to obtain voluntary compliance with our requests for documents, but the White House has refused to engage with — or even respond to — the committees.”

Video

Westlake Legal Group vidxx-trump-ukraine-1-videoSixteenByNineJumbo1600 ‘We’re Not Fooling Around’: House Democrats Vow to Subpoena White House United States Politics and Government Trump, Donald J Trump-Ukraine Whistle-Blower Complaint and Impeachment Inquiry State Department Pompeo, Mike Linick, Steve A Inspectors General impeachment

President Trump’s personal lawyer. The prosecutor general of Ukraine. Joe Biden’s son. These are just some of the names mentioned in the whistle-blower’s complaint. What were their roles? We break it down.CreditCreditIllustration by The New York Times

The threat came as the president lashed out at Democrats in a series of angry outbursts online and before television cameras, denouncing leading lawmakers as “dishonest people” who were focusing on “BULLSHIT,” as he put it on Twitter, to overturn an election they lost in 2016.

In a red-faced harangue in the Oval Office with a visibly uncomfortable president of Finland sitting next to him, Mr. Trump declared that Democrats were “guilty as hell” of corrupting the 2016 election, that former Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr. “is corrupt” and “less smart now than he ever was,” and that a C.I.A. whistle-blower is “a spy in my opinion.”

He saved his sharpest barbs for Representative Adam B. Schiff, Democrat of California and the chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, who has taken the lead in the investigations. Mr. Trump called him “a lowlife” and “shifty, dishonest guy.” Referring to Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, the president said Mr. Schiff “couldn’t carry his blank strap,” using the word “blank” instead of “jock” for a typical locker-room insult.

As he has for several days, the president focused intently on Mr. Schiff’s recent statement in which the congressman provided his interpretation of the president’s telephone call with the president of Ukraine, making clear that they were not Mr. Trump’s precise words but reflected his intent. “He should resign from office in disgrace,” Mr. Trump said. “Frankly, they should look at him for treason because he is making up the words of the president of the United States.”

The clash between the president and congressional Democrats came on another momentous day in Washington where, in just over two weeks, revelations about attempts by Mr. Trump and his personal lawyer, Rudolph W. Giuliani, to pressure Ukraine to investigate Mr. Biden and other Democrats have exploded into an impeachment inquiry that threatens his presidency.

Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Mr. Schiff warned the Trump administration that any attempt to stonewall the House’s request or intimidate witnesses would be construed as obstruction worthy of impeachment itself.

“We’re not fooling around here,” Mr. Schiff said. “We don’t want this to drag on months and months and months, which would be the administration’s strategy. So they just need to know even as they try to undermine our ability to find the facts around the president’s effort to coerce a foreign leader to create dirt that he can use against a political opponent, that they will be strengthening the case on obstruction.”

After asserting that Congress would not let impeachment entirely eclipse its legislative agenda, Ms. Pelosi accused the president of an “assault on the Constitution.”

Mr. Trump, watching on television from the White House, responded in real time on Twitter: “The Do Nothing Democrats should be focused on building up our Country, not wasting everyone’s time and energy on BULLSHIT, which is what they have been doing ever since I got overwhelmingly elected in 2016, 223-306.”

The impeachment inquiry is escalating rapidly; already in the past week, the House has issued two subpoenas for records. Mr. Cummings’s warning suggested that lawmakers and their staffs were working to collect the evidence they believe they need to corroborate the anonymous C.I.A. whistle-blower complaint that touched off their inquiry. First, they targeted the State Department, then Mr. Giuliani and now the White House.

At the same time, lawmakers were preparing to hear a mysterious bit of new information abruptly offered by the State Department’s independent watchdog, which could add a fresh twist to the inquiry. Steven A. Linick, the State Department’s inspector general, was to brief lawmakers in the afternoon about urgent material he signaled could be relevant to the investigation.

What exactly Mr. Linick intended to share with Congress remained a matter of intense speculation on Wednesday. Mr. Linick, who was not believed to be investigating the Ukraine matter himself, contacted lawmakers early Tuesday afternoon and extended a cryptic and urgent invitation to meet the next day “to discuss and provide staff with copies of documents,” according to an invitation reviewed by The New York Times.

The invitation noted only that the documents had been shared with Mr. Linick by the State Department’s acting legal adviser.

Inspectors general frequently share information with Congress, but lawmakers and other government officials familiar with the process said Mr. Linick’s request was highly unusual, particularly given the extraordinary political pressure surrounding the State Department and Ukraine.

The draft subpoena circulated by Mr. Cummings suggests he is casting a wide net for potential records related to the Ukraine matter, and is all but certain to touch off a battle with a White House that has a long history of refusing to comply with congressional requests.

It explicitly asks for records that could indicate whether the White House or other administration officials took steps to conceal or destroy the records to prevent Congress or the public from learning what had happened.

Among the documents requested are any recordings, transcripts, notes or other records related to a July phone call in which Mr. Trump pressed President Volodymyr Zelensky of Ukraine to conduct investigations that would bolster the American leader politically, or an earlier April call between the two men. It asks for a full list of White House staff members involved in or aware of the calls, any communications that refer to the July call and details about how the White House maintained records of the call.

The draft subpoena also directs the White House to hand over records of any calls with other foreign leaders referring to the topics Mr. Trump discussed with Mr. Zelensky; of meetings related to Ukraine; and of the decision to temporarily withhold $391 million in security aid from the country this summer at the same time Mr. Trump was pressing Mr. Zelensky.

On Tuesday, Mr. Pompeo became one of the first Trump administration officials to throw himself into the gears of the churning House investigation, writing in a letter to Democratic chairmen that their demands for confidential interviews with diplomats with knowledge of the case was “an act of intimidation” and would not be immediately met.

But instead of bringing it to a halt, Mr. Pompeo’s actions seem only to have fueled the case. The Democrats said any attempt to block witnesses from speaking to Congress would be construed by them as witness intimidation. And at least two of the diplomats Mr. Pompeo objected to speaking had indicated to the House that they would appear for private depositions anyway. Mr. Schiff indicated on Wednesday, though, that three other scheduled depositions may not yet be assured.

Late Tuesday, the chairmen wrote to Mr. Pompeo’s deputy saying the secretary had an “obvious conflict of interest” in light of news reports that he listened in on the July phone call.

“Given the secretary’s own potential role, and reports of other State Department officials being involved in or knowledgeable of the events under investigation,” they wrote, “the committee may infer that he is trying to cover up illicit activity and misconduct, including by the president.”

On Wednesday, in Rome, Mr. Pompeo confirmed for the first time that he had been listening in on the call.

“I was on the phone call,” he said at a news conference in the Italian capital.

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Real Estate, and Personal Injury Lawyers. Contact us at: https://westlakelegal.com 

Schiff, House Intel Chairman, Got Early Account of Whistle-Blower’s Accusations

WASHINGTON — The Democratic head of the House Intelligence Committee, Representative Adam B. Schiff of California, learned about the outlines of a C.I.A. officer’s concerns that President Trump had abused his power days before the officer filed a whistle-blower complaint, according to a spokesman and current and former American officials.

The early account by the future whistle-blower shows how determined he was to make known his allegations that Mr. Trump asked Ukraine’s government to interfere on his behalf in the 2020 election. It also explains how Mr. Schiff knew to press for the complaint when the Trump administration initially blocked lawmakers from seeing it.

The C.I.A. officer approached a House Intelligence Committee aide with his concerns about Mr. Trump only after he had had a colleague first convey them to the C.I.A.’s top lawyer. Concerned about how that initial avenue for airing his allegations through the C.I.A. was unfolding, the officer then approached the House aide. In both cases, the original accusation was vague.

The House staff member, following the committee’s procedures, suggested the officer find a lawyer to advise him and file a whistle-blower complaint. The aide shared some of what the officer conveyed to Mr. Schiff. The aide did not share the whistle-blower’s identity with Mr. Schiff, an official said.

“Like other whistle-blowers have done before and since under Republican and Democratic-controlled committees, the whistle-blower contacted the committee for guidance on how to report possible wrongdoing within the jurisdiction of the intelligence community,” said Patrick Boland, a spokesman for Mr. Schiff.

In his whistle-blower complaint, the officer said Mr. Trump pressured the Ukrainian government to investigate a host of issues that could benefit him politically, including one connected to the son of former Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr.

A reconstituted transcript released by the White House of a call between Mr. Trump and President Volodymyr Zelensky of Ukraine backed up the whistle-blower’s account, which was itself based on information from a half dozen American officials and deemed credible by the inspector general for the intelligence community.

Mr. Trump has focused his ire on Mr. Schiff amid the burgeoning Ukraine scandal, even suggesting he could be arrested for treason. The president, who has also made thinly veiled threats against the whistle-blower and accused him of being partisan, is likely to use the revelation that the C.I.A. officer first approached the committee to try to undermine the complaint and suggest it was part of a Democratic plot against him.

The whistle-blower’s decision to offer what amounted to an early warning to the intelligence committee’s Democrats is also sure to thrust Mr. Schiff even more forcefully into the center of the controversy.

On Wednesday, Mr. Trump said Mr. Schiff should be forced to resign for reading a parody of the Ukraine call at a hearing, an act Mr. Trump has called treasonous and criminal.

“We don’t call him shifty Schiff for nothing,” said Mr. Trump. “He’s a shifty dishonest guy.”

Mr. Schiff’s aides followed procedures involving the C.I.A. officer’s accusations, Mr. Boland said. They referred the C.I.A. officer to an inspector general and advised him to seek legal counsel.

Mr. Schiff never saw any part of the complaint or knew precisely what the whistle-blower would deliver, Mr. Boland said.

“At no point did the committee review or receive the complaint in advance,” he said. He said the committee received the complaint the night before releasing it publicly last week and noted that came three weeks after the administration was legally mandated to turn it over to Congress. The director of national intelligence, Joseph Maguire, acting on the advice of his top lawyer and the Justice Department, had blocked the inspector general for the intelligence community, Michael Atkinson, from turning over the complaint sooner.

ImageWestlake Legal Group merlin_160649016_2802eb21-e005-4af5-bb57-cdf82734084b-articleLarge Schiff, House Intel Chairman, Got Early Account of Whistle-Blower’s Accusations Zelensky, Volodymyr United States Politics and Government Ukraine Trump, Donald J Trump-Ukraine Whistle-Blower Complaint and Impeachment Inquiry Schiff, Adam B Office of the Director of National Intelligence National Security Council Inspectors General House Committee on Intelligence Espionage and Intelligence Services Eisenberg, John A Classified Information and State Secrets central intelligence agency Atkinson, Michael K (1964- )

The C.I.A. officer expressed concerns that Mr. Trump had abused his power during a call with President Volodymyr Zelensky of Ukraine.CreditCarolyn Kaster/Associated Press

The future whistle-blower went to Mr. Schiff’s committee after he grew concerned about the first investigation he had touched off.

The C.I.A. officer first had a colleague take his concerns — in vague form — to the C.I.A.’s general counsel, Courtney Simmons Elwood, who began a preliminary inquiry by contacting a deputy White House counsel, alerting the White House that complaints were coming from the C.I.A.

As C.I.A. and White House lawyers began following up on the complaint, the C.I.A. officer became nervous, according to a person familiar with the matter. He learned that John Eisenberg, a deputy White House counsel and the legal adviser to the national security adviser, was among those scrutinizing his initial allegation.

Contacts in the National Security Council had also told the C.I.A. officer that the White House lawyers had authorized records of Mr. Trump’s call with Mr. Zelensky to be put in a highly classified computer system, meaning that the lawyers who were now helping the C.I.A. investigate the officer’s allegations were the same ones implicated in them. The officer has alleged that White House aides’ decision to store the call records more restrictively was itself an abuse of the system.

The C.I.A. officer decided the complaint he had brought to Ms. Elwood was at risk of being swept aside, prompting him to go to the lawmakers who conduct oversight of the intelligence agencies.

He followed the advice of Mr. Schiff’s aide and filed his complaint to Mr. Atkinson. And though Mr. Maguire blocked him from forwarding it to Congress, he did allow Mr. Atkinson to notify lawmakers of its existence.

The complaint was filed in consultation with a lawyer, officials said. “The intelligence community whistle-blower followed the advice of legal counsel from the beginning,” said Andrew Bakaj, the lead counsel for the whistle-blower. “The laws and processes have been followed.”

Filing a complaint with Mr. Atkinson gave the whistle-blower added protections against reprisals and also allowed him to legally report on classified information. While House Intelligence Committee members are allowed to receive classified whistle-blower complaints, they are not allowed to make such complaints public, according to a former official. A complaint forwarded to the committee by the inspector general gives it more latitude over what it can publicize.

By the time the whistle-blower filed his complaint, Mr. Schiff and his staff knew at least vaguely what it contained.

Mr. Schiff, after a private letter and phone call to Mr. Maguire, publicly released a letter seeking the complaint and suggested it could involve Mr. Trump or others in his administration. Mr. Schiff followed up by subpoenaing Mr. Maguire to testify before the intelligence committee.

Mr. Schiff’s intense push took Mr. Maguire and his aides by surprise, current and former intelligence officials said. In other cases of lawmakers seeking classified material that the intelligence agencies were reluctant to share, including whistle-blower complaints, both sides usually tried to resolve the matter by holding quiet discussions.

Officials in Mr. Maguire’s office, who did not know the details of the complaint, were puzzled why Mr. Schiff went public right away, eschewing the usual closed-door negotiations.

Congressional officials insisted that Mr. Schiff and his aides followed the rules. Whistle-blowers regularly approach the committee, given its role in conducting oversight of the intelligence agencies, Mr. Boland said.

“The committee expects that they will be fully protected, despite the president’s threats,” Mr. Boland said, referring to the whistle-blower without identifying his gender. “Only through their courage did these facts about the president’s abuse of power come to light.”

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‘We’re Not Fooling Around’: House Democrats Tell White House Subpoena Is Coming

WASHINGTON — House Democrats said Wednesday they planned to subpoena the White House by Friday if it did not comply with broad requests for documents related to President Trump’s efforts to pressure Ukraine into investigating a leading political rival, and any attempt by the administration to conceal his actions.

Representative Elijah E. Cummings of Maryland, the chairman of the Oversight and Reform Committee, notified his panel of the impending subpoena on Wednesday. He said the White House had thus far ignored voluntary requests he submitted with the House Intelligence and Foreign Affairs committees.

“I do not take this step lightly,” Mr. Cummings wrote. “Over the past several weeks, the committees tried several times to obtain voluntary compliance with our requests for documents, but the White House has refused to engage with — or even respond to — the committees.”

Video

Westlake Legal Group vidxx-trump-ukraine-1-videoSixteenByNineJumbo1600 ‘We’re Not Fooling Around’: House Democrats Tell White House Subpoena Is Coming United States Politics and Government Trump, Donald J Trump-Ukraine Whistle-Blower Complaint and Impeachment Inquiry State Department Pompeo, Mike Linick, Steve A Inspectors General impeachment

President Trump’s personal lawyer. The prosecutor general of Ukraine. Joe Biden’s son. These are just some of the names mentioned in the whistle-blower’s complaint. What were their roles? We break it down.CreditCreditIllustration by The New York Times

The threat kicked off what promised to be another momentous day in Washington, where in just over two weeks, revelations about attempts by Mr. Trump and his private lawyer to pressure Ukraine to help smear Joseph R. Biden Jr., the former vice president, have touched off an inquiry that threatens his presidency.

Just minutes later in the Capitol, Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Representative Adam B. Schiff of California, the Intelligence Committee chairman leading the impeachment investigation, starkly warned the Trump administration that any attempt to stonewall the House’s request or intimidate witnesses would be construed as obstruction worthy of impeachment itself.

Responding in real time on Twitter, Mr. Trump called their efforts “BULLSHIT.”

At the same time, lawmakers were preparing to hear a mysterious bit of new information abruptly offered up by the State Department’s independent watchdog, which could add a fresh twist to the inquiry. Steven A. Linick, the State Department’s inspector general, was to brief lawmakers in the afternoon about urgent material he signaled could be relevant to the investigation.

Democrats said they would act quickly to uncover the facts.

“We’re not fooling around here,” Mr. Schiff said. “We don’t want this to drag on months and months and months, which would be the administration’s strategy. So they just need to know even as they try to undermine our ability to find the facts around the president’s effort to coerce a foreign leader to create dirt that he can use against a political opponent, that they will be strengthening the case on obstruction.”

After asserting that Congress would not let impeachment entirely eclipse its legislative agenda, Ms. Pelosi accused the president of an “assault on the Constitution.”

The impeachment inquiry is escalating in rapid-fire fashion; already in the past week, the House has issued two subpoenas for records. Mr. Cummings’s warning suggests lawmakers and their staffs are working methodically to collect the evidence they believe they need to evaluate an anonymous C.I.A. whistle-blower complaint that touched off their inquiry. First, they targeted the State Department, then Rudolph W. Giuliani, the president’s personal lawyer, and now the White House.

What exactly Mr. Linick intended to share with Congress remained a matter of intense speculation on Wednesday. Mr. Linick, who was not believed to be investigating the Ukraine matter himself, contacted lawmakers early Tuesday afternoon and extended a cryptic and urgent invitation to meet the next day “to discuss and provide staff with copies of documents,” according to an invitation reviewed by The New York Times.

The invitation noted only that the documents had been shared with Mr. Linick by the State Department’s acting legal adviser.

Inspectors general frequently share information with Congress, but lawmakers and other government officials familiar with the process said Mr. Linick’s request was highly unusual, particularly given the extraordinary political pressure surrounding the State Department and Ukraine.

The draft subpoena circulated by Mr. Cummings reads like a dragnet of potential records related to the Ukraine matter, and is all but certain to touch off a battle with a White House that has a long history of refusing to comply with congressional requests.

It explicitly asks for records that could indicate whether the White House or other administration officials took steps to conceal or destroy the records to prevent Congress or the public from learning what had happened.

Among the documents requested are any recordings, transcripts, notes or other records related to a July phone call in which Mr. Trump pressed President Volodymyr Zelensky of Ukraine to conduct investigations that would bolster the American leader politically, or an earlier April call between the two men. It asks for a full list of White House staff members involved or aware of the calls, any communications that reference the July call and details about how the White House maintained records of the call.

The draft subpoena also directs the White House to hand over records of any calls with other foreign leaders referring to the topics Mr. Trump discussed with Mr. Zelensky; records of meetings related to Ukraine; and the decision to temporarily withhold $391 million in security aid from the country this summer at the same time Mr. Trump was pressing Mr. Zelensky.

Mr. Trump, continuing to fume over the investigation, sniped back at the Democratic leaders on Twitter in real time with mounting agitation.

He said Ms. Pelosi’s pledge to continue to legislate on prescription drug pricing and Mr. Trump’s proposed trade deal with Canada and Mexico was “just camouflage for trying to win an election through impeachment.” He said Mr. Schiff “should only be so lucky to have the brains, honor and strength of Secretary of State Mike Pompeo,” who the congressman criticized for intervening in his investigation. And Mr. Trump even claimed that the Democratic effort was “driving the Stock Market, and your 401K’s, down” and Democrats were glad about it.

“The Do Nothing Democrats should be focused on building up our Country, not wasting everyone’s time and energy on BULLSHIT, which is what they have been doing ever since I got overwhelmingly elected in 2016, 223-306,” Mr. Trump wrote. “Get a better candidate this time, you’ll need it!”

On Tuesday, Mr. Pompeo became one of the first Trump administration officials to throw himself into the gears of the churning House investigation, writing in a letter to Democratic chairmen that their demands for confidential interviews with diplomats with knowledge of the case was “an act of intimidation” and would not be immediately met.

But instead of bringing it to a halt, Mr. Pompeo’s actions seem only to have fueled the case. The Democrats said any attempt to block witnesses from speaking to Congress would be construed by them as witness intimidation. And at least two of the diplomats Mr. Pompeo objected to speaking had indicated to the House that they would appear for private depositions anyway. Mr. Schiff indicated on Wednesday, though, that three other scheduled depositions may not yet be assured.

Late Tuesday, the chairmen wrote to Mr. Pompeo’s deputy saying the secretary had an “obvious conflict of interest” in light of news reports that he listened in on the July phone call.

“Given the secretary’s own potential role, and reports of other State Department officials being involved in or knowledgeable of the events under investigation,” they wrote, “the committee may infer that he is trying to cover up illicit activity and misconduct, including by the president.”

On Wednesday, in Rome, Mr. Pompeo confirmed for the first time that he had been listening in on the call.

“I was on the phone call,” he said at a news conference in the Italian capital.

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Pompeo Confirms He Listened to Trump’s Call to Ukraine President

Oct. 2, 2019

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Trump Impeachment Inquiry: Live Updates

Here’s what you need to know:

Representative Elijah E. Cummings of Maryland, the chairman of the Oversight and Reform Committee, notified his committee of the impending subpoena on Wednesday. He said the White House had thus far ignored Congress’s voluntary requests for materials related to President Trump’s efforts to pressure Ukraine into investigating Joseph R. Biden Jr. and his son and any attempt by the administration to conceal his actions.

“I do not take this step lightly,” Mr. Cummings wrote. “Over the past several weeks, the committees tried several times to obtain voluntary compliance with our requests for documents, but the White House has refused to engage with — or even respond to — the committees.”

The subpoena threat came as lawmakers expected to hear a mysterious bit of new information abruptly offered up by the State Department’s independent watchdog.

Nicholas Fandos

Read on: House Threatens to Subpoena White House for Ukraine Records

As House Speaker Nancy Pelosi renewed her argument for impeachment on Wednesday, President Trump was watching.

Mr. Trump responded to Ms. Pelosi — in real time — on Twitter, firing off several tweets attacking the speaker and her fellow Democrats for “trying to win an election through impeachment.” The president complained that the House Democratic move to impeach him over his political pressure on Ukraine’s government to investigate his political opponents was driving down the stock market and distracting from legislative goals like prescription drug prices and passage of a new trade deal with Mexico.

He also raged that Democrats were trying to throw him out of office on illegitimate grounds.

“Democrats are trying to undo the Election regardless of FACTS!” Mr. Trump wrote, sharing a 30-second ad produced by his campaign charging that Democrats were staging “nothing short of a coup.”

Mr. Trump also responded to remarks by Representative Adam B. Schiff, the Democratic chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, who spoke with Ms. Pelosi, calling Mr. Schiff “a lowlife.”

Several minutes after the Democrats finished speaking, Mr. Trump angrily used a profanity, saying that his political rivals “should be focused on building up our Country, not wasting everyone’s time and energy on BULLSHIT.”

— Michael Crowley

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Secretary of State Mike Pompeo confirmed during a news conference in Rome that he had listened in on President Trump’s telephone conversation with the president of Ukraine.CreditCreditFabio Frustaci/EPA, via Shutterstock

“I was on the phone call,” Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said at a news conference in Rome — the first time he has addressed the topic publicly since reports surfaced that he had heard the exchange.

He did not elaborate on the conversation and did not answer a question about whether anything in it had raised a red flag for him.

An anonymous whistle-blower within the government filed a complaint in August, citing the call and other factors as information that “the President of the United States is using the power of his office to solicit interference from a foreign country in the 2020 U.S. election.”

The complaint, made public last week, says that White House officials, rather than storing a record of the conversation with Volodymyr Zelensky, Ukraine’s president, in the usual computer system, attempted to “lock down” information on it, placing it in a more secure system, accessible to fewer people. The whistle-blower asserted this was done because they “understood the gravity of what had transpired in the call.”

— Jason Horowitz and Richard Pérez-Peña

Read on: Pompeo Confirms He Listened to Trump’s Call to Ukraine President

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Document: Read the Whistle-Blower Complaint

The complaint filed by an intelligence officer about President Trump’s interactions with the leader of Ukraine.

Senator Mitch McConnell’s comment this week that the Senate would be forced to “take up” articles of impeachment from the House had the capital in a swirl, bracing for a full-blown Senate trial of President Trump. But as things now stand, any trial would probably be swift, ending in dismissal of the accusations.

While the focus was on the statement by Mr. McConnell, the majority leader, that the Senate would have “no choice” but to begin an impeachment proceeding, it was his next line that might have been more telling: “How long you are on it is a whole different matter.”

The fusty rules of the Senate make clear that Republicans could not unilaterally stonewall articles of impeachment of Mr. Trump as they did the Supreme Court nomination of Merrick B. Garland. But Mr. McConnell’s declaration suggests the Republican-controlled Senate could move expeditiously to toss them out if Republicans conclude the House impeachment is meritless, or a strictly partisan affair.

— Carl Hulse

Read more in the “On Washington” column: Impeachment Rules Say Senate Must Act, but Its Act Might Be a Swift Dismissal

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House Threatens to Subpoena White House for Ukraine Records

WASHINGTON — The House threatened on Wednesday to subpoena the White House if it did not comply by Friday with broad requests for documents related to President Trump’s efforts to pressure Ukraine into investigating Joseph R. Biden Jr. and his son and any attempt by the administration to conceal his actions.

Representative Elijah E. Cummings of Maryland, the chairman of the Oversight and Reform Committee, notified his committee of the impending subpoena on Wednesday. He said the White House had thus far ignored Congress’s voluntary requests.

“I do not take this step lightly,” Mr. Cummings wrote. “Over the past several weeks, the committees tried several times to obtain voluntary compliance with our requests for documents, but the White House has refused to engage with — or even respond to — the committees.”

Video

Westlake Legal Group vidxx-trump-ukraine-1-videoSixteenByNineJumbo1600 House Threatens to Subpoena White House for Ukraine Records United States Politics and Government Trump, Donald J Trump-Ukraine Whistle-Blower Complaint and Impeachment Inquiry State Department Pompeo, Mike Linick, Steve A Inspectors General impeachment

President Trump’s personal lawyer. The prosecutor general of Ukraine. Joe Biden’s son. These are just some of the names mentioned in the whistle-blower’s complaint. What were their roles? We break it down.CreditCreditIllustration by The New York Times

The subpoena threat came as House Democratic leaders were preparing to lay out the next steps in their rapidly unfolding impeachment inquiry, and as lawmakers expected to hear a mysterious bit of new information abruptly offered up by the State Department’s independent watchdog.

After a Wednesday morning news conference where Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Representative Adam B. Schiff, the chairman of the Intelligence Committee, planned to outline the progress of their inquiry, Steven A. Linick, the State Department’s inspector general, was to brief lawmakers in the afternoon about urgent material he said was relevant to the investigation.

It promised to be another momentous day in Washington, where in just over two weeks, revelations about attempts by Mr. Trump and his private lawyer to pressure Ukraine to help smear Mr. Biden, a Democratic political rival, have touched off an inquiry that threatens his presidency. The House inquiry is reshaping the political landscape and could have profound consequences for an already deeply polarized country.

The impeachment inquiry has escalated quickly: The House has already issued two subpoenas for records. Mr. Cummings’s warning suggests lawmakers and their staffs are working methodically to collect the evidence they believe they need to evaluate an anonymous C.I.A. whistle-blower complaint that touched off their inquiry. First, they targeted the State Department, then Rudolph W. Giuliani, the president’s personal lawyer, and now the White House.

What exactly Mr. Linick, intended to share with Congress remained a matter of intense speculation early on Wednesday. Mr. Linick, who was not believed to be investigating the Ukraine matter himself, contacted lawmakers early Tuesday afternoon and extended a cryptic and urgent invitation to meet the next day “to discuss and provide staff with copies of documents,” according to an invitation reviewed by The New York Times.

The invitation noted only that the documents had been shared with Mr. Linick by the State Department’s acting legal adviser.

Inspectors general frequently share information with Congress, but lawmakers and other government officials familiar with the process said Mr. Linick’s request was highly unusual, particularly given the extraordinary political pressure surrounding the State Department and Ukraine.

The draft subpoena circulated by Mr. Cummings, in conjunction with the House Intelligence and Foreign Affairs committees, reads like a dragnet of potential records related to the Ukraine matter and is all but certain to touch off a battle with a White House that has a long history of refusing to comply with congressional requests of this nature.

It also explicitly asks for records that could indicate whether the White House or other administration officials took steps to conceal or destroy the records to prevent Congress or the public from learning what had happened.

Among the records requested are any recordings, transcripts, notes or other records related to a July phone call in which Mr. Trump pressed President Volodymyr Zelensky of Ukraine to conduct investigations that would bolster the American leader politically, or an earlier April call between the two men. It asks for a full list of White House staff members involved or aware of the calls, any communications that reference the July call and details about how the White House maintained records of the call.

The draft subpoena also commands the White House to hand over records of any calls with other foreign leaders referring to the topics Mr. Trump discussed with Mr. Zelensky; records of meetings related to Ukraine; and the decision to temporarily withhold $391 million in security aid from the country this summer at the same time Mr. Trump was pressing Mr. Zelensky.

Mr. Trump, continuing to fume over the investigation, wrote on Twitter Wednesday morning that Mr. Schiff should “resign for the Crime of, after reading a transcript of my conversation with the President of Ukraine (it was perfect), fraudulently fabricating a statement of the President of the United States and reading it to Congress, as though mine!” He was referring to remarks by Mr. Schiff during a congressional hearing last week in which Mr. Schiff paraphrased the president’s call with Mr. Zelensky in a way that dramatized the exchange.

On Tuesday, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo became one of the first Trump administration officials to throw himself on the gears of the churning House investigation, writing in a letter to Democratic chairmen that their demands for confidential interviews with diplomats with knowledge of the case was “an act of intimidation” and would not be immediately met.

But instead of bringing it to a halt, Mr. Pompeo’s actions seem only to have fueled the case. The Democrats said any attempt to block witnesses from speaking to Congress would be construed by them as witness intimidation. And at least two of the diplomats Mr. Pompeo objected to speaking had indicated to the House that they would appear for private depositions anyway.

Late Tuesday, the chairmen wrote to Mr. Pompeo’s deputy saying the secretary had an “obvious conflict of interest” in light of news reports that he listened in on the July phone call.

“Given the secretary’s own potential role, and reports of other State Department officials being involved in or knowledgeable of the events under investigation,” they wrote, “the committee may infer that he is trying to cover up illicit activity and misconduct, including by the president.”

On Wednesday, in Rome, Mr. Pompeo confirmed for the first time that he had been listening in on the call.

“I was on the phone call,” he said at a news conference in the Italian capital.

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Pompeo Confirms He Listened to Trump’s Call to Ukraine President

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Pompeo Confirms He Listened to Trump’s Call to Ukraine President

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ROME — Secretary of State Mike Pompeo confirmed on Wednesday that he had listened in on President Trump’s telephone conversation with the president of Ukraine — a call that has become the subject of a whistle-blower’s complaint and is at the heart of an impeachment inquiry by House Democrats.

“I was on the phone call,” Mr. Pompeo said at a news conference in Rome — the first time he has addressed the topic publicly since reports surfaced that he had heard the exchange.

He did not elaborate on the conversation and did not answer a question about whether anything in it had raised a red flag for him.

The confirmation came as Mr. Pompeo is engaged in a fight with Democrats in the House of Representatives who have demanded swift access to State Department officials for interviews as part of the impeachment inquiry.

And it came on a day when Congress may receive new information about the Trump administration’s interactions with Ukraine, from the State Department inspector general, Steve A. Linick, who requested to meet committee staff members on Wednesday.

In the July 25 call, Mr. Trump pressed President Volodymyr Zelensky of Ukraine to investigate the activities in Ukraine of former Vice President Joseph R. Biden and his son Hunter. Critics say that Mr. Trump suggested, if not explicitly, that American aid was contingent on Ukraine’s conducting the investigation and that Mr. Trump risked national security and abused his office for political gain.

Mr. Pompeo on Wednesday described United States policy toward Ukraine as “remarkably consistent,” being focused on addressing “the threat that Russia poses” and attempts at “helping the Ukrainians to get graft out, and corruption outside of their government.”

“Even,” he added, “while all this noise is going on.”

In his request to Mr. Zelensky, Mr. Trump pushed a conspiracy theory that his own staff had repeatedly told him was false — that Ukraine, not Russia, had intervened in the 2016 election and that it had done so on behalf of the Democrats.

In another call, to Prime Minister Scott Morrison of Australia, Mr. Trump asked for help discrediting the Mueller investigation into Russia’s election interference.

On Tuesday, Mr. Pompeo released a letter that excoriated House Democrats for demanding quick depositions of State Department officials involved in policy toward Ukraine, calling it an “act of intimidation” that did not allow his officials sufficient time to respond.

“What we objected to was the demands that were put that deeply violate fundamental principles of separation of powers,” Mr. Pompeo said on Wednesday. “They contacted State Department employees directly, told them not to contact legal counsel at the State Department — at least that’s been reported to us — told them State Department wouldn’t be allowed to be present.”

He said that the department would cooperate with Congress, but that, “we won’t tolerate folks on Capitol Hill bullying and intimidating State Department employees — that’s unacceptable.”

Representative Elijah E. Cummings, the chairman of the House Oversight and Reform Committee, accused Mr. Pompeo of obstruction.

“In response, Congress may infer from this obstruction that any withheld documents and testimony would reveal information that corroborates the whistle-blower complaint,” Mr. Cummings said in a statement.

In response to Mr. Pompeo’s letter, he wrote that House Democrats believed Mr. Pompeo had an “obvious conflict of interest” because of his presence on Mr. Trump’s call with Mr. Zelensky and that they would not inform Mr. Pompeo about other witnesses.

“The committee may infer that he is trying to cover up illicit activity and misconduct, including by the president,” the statement read.

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As Impeachment Moves Forward, Trump’s Language Turns Darker

WASHINGTON — President Trump’s language has changed in the days since House Democrats began their impeachment inquiry.

The presidential Twitter feed still has its share of complaints about the Federal Reserve, punch-back nicknames and favorable polls from friends such as Breitbart. But now Mr. Trump also talks about the civil war that could break out if impeachment proceedings against him continue, a whistle-blower he regards as a spy and, increasingly, treason.

His main targets have been the whistle-blower and Representative Adam B. Schiff, the chairman of the House Intelligence Committee. And he has used the word more than a dozen times on Twitter, beginning last September when he castigated The New York Times for publishing an Op-Ed article written by an anonymous administration official that questioned the president’s ability to govern.

The last time an American was convicted of treason was in the 1940s, in part because the Constitution defines it narrowly as levying war against the United States or giving aid or comfort to an enemy during wartime. But as the impeachment inquiry unfolds, Mr. Trump has used the term to accuse people of disloyalty and signal to his supporters that his political opponents are un-American.

The accusation is nothing new in the right-wing vocabulary — Ann Coulter, the president’s sometimes adviser, sometimes adversary — wrote a book on the topic. Mark S. Zaid, a Washington lawyer who represents the whistle-blower, reviewed the book in 2003, saying it contained revelations that would “shock anyone to the left of Attila the Hun.”

But experts see a civic danger in the president frequently and falsely calling out what he labels treasonous behavior. Carlton F.W. Larson, a professor at the University of California at Davis School of Law and an expert on treason, said the president had cheapened the word through overuse.

“It is a complete debasement of political discourse where ordinary political disagreements are elevated to a level of capital crime,” Mr. Larson said. “If Trump ever did uncover an instance of true treason, no one would believe him because he has so debased the meaning of that word.”

Mr. Trump first mentioned treason in connection with the whistle-blower last week in a talk at the United States Mission to the United Nations, contending that what the whistle-blower was doing was spying and lamenting that there used to be a punishment for that, presumably meaning execution.

“I want to know who’s the person who gave the whistle-blower the information, because that’s close to a spy,” Mr. Trump said. “You know what we used to do in the old days when we were smart? Right? With spies and treason, right? We used to handle it a little differently than we do now.”

But what seems to have most provoked the president was Mr. Schiff’s opening statement at a House Intelligence Committee hearing last week when he gave his own interpretation of Mr. Trump’s July phone call with the Ukrainian president as a mobster issuing a veiled threat — and the president did not like it.

“Rep. Adam Schiff illegally made up a FAKE & terrible statement, pretended it to be mine as the most important part of my call to the Ukrainian President, and read it aloud to Congress and the American people,” Mr. Trump wrote on Twitter on Monday. “It bore NO relationship to what I said on the call. Arrest for Treason?”

This was just one outcome Mr. Trump said he wanted. A day earlier, the president said Mr. Schiff should be “questioned at the highest level for Fraud & Treason.” On Tuesday, he added that the congressman should be charged with making a false statement.

“Oftentimes he uses a bazooka to swat a fly,” Christopher Ruddy, a friend of Mr. Trump’s and the chief executive of Newsmax Media, said in an interview, adding that he would like to see the president behave more “above the fray.”

But Mr. Ruddy said he understood why the president had done it. “I think he sees the allegations against him as hyperbolic, so he responds back hyperbolically,” Mr. Ruddy said.

Erin Perrine, a spokeswoman for the president’s re-election campaign, put it another way. “For two years Democrats and the media falsely accused President Trump of being a Russian agent,” she said. “It makes it difficult to take Democrats’ feelings being hurt seriously.”

Still, over the past year, Mr. Trump has accused the Democrats of treason for opposing his immigration policies, and The Times again for reporting on cyberattacks in Russia. In May, he accused unnamed individuals of spying on his presidential campaign — an accusation he has levied at the Obama administration. Mr. Trump has used the phrase so often that it was a line of questioning at a news conference at the White House that month, when a journalist reminded Mr. Trump that treason was punishable by death.

Mr. Trump nodded, then listed several people he believed had engaged in treasonous behavior, including James B. Comey, the former director of the F.B.I.; Andrew G. McCabe, the former acting F.B.I. director; and Peter Strzok and Lisa Page, both former F.B.I. officials.

Mr. Trump also said that “probably people higher than that” had participated in an effort to undermine his election, alluding to claims he has made that Obama administration officials, and perhaps President Barack Obama himself, had participated in an effort to spy on his campaign.

All of the people Mr. Trump named are people he feels should have had a loyalty to the office of the presidency, and whose comments about him he has taken personally.

“I think a number of people,” Mr. Trump said. “And I think what you look is that they have unsuccessfully tried to take down the wrong person,” Mr. Trump added, referring to himself.

ImageWestlake Legal Group 30dc-treason-02-articleLarge As Impeachment Moves Forward, Trump’s Language Turns Darker Whistle-Blowers United States Politics and Government Trump, Donald J Trump-Ukraine Whistle-Blower Complaint and Impeachment Inquiry Treason and Sedition Schiff, Adam B impeachment

During the special counsel investigation, Mr. Trump brought up the case of Julius and Ethel Rosenberg, who were executed in 1953 after being found guilty of conspiracy to commit espionage. CreditAssociated Press

“He seems to confuse lack of loyalty to himself with treason,” said Sheri Berman, a professor of political science at Barnard College, “thereby at the very least conflating the office of the presidency with the country as a whole.”

In the past, Mr. Trump has defined treason as a crime with “long jail sentences” and, during the special counsel investigation into his campaign’s ties to Russia, he brought up the case of Julius and Ethel Rosenberg, who were executed in 1953 after being found guilty of conspiracy to commit espionage.

“When they say ‘treason,’ you know what treason is?” Mr. Trump asked reporters in 2017 as he defended his son, Donald Trump Jr., against criticism that he had met with a lawyer connected with the Russian government at Trump Tower to gather dirt on Hillary Clinton. “That’s Julius and Ethel Rosenberg for giving the atomic bomb, O.K.?”

The Rosenbergs, who in fact were not convicted of treason, were prosecuted by Roy Cohn, a mentor of Mr. Trump’s. Mr. Cohn, who as a young aide to Senator Joseph McCarthy made his name by ensuring that the couple was sent to the electric chair, would later go on to coach Mr. Trump in the art of full-on assault of his enemies.

“He’s been vicious to others in his protection of me,” Mr. Trump said in 1980 of his mentor, who was eventually disbarred for “unethical,” “unprofessional” and “particularly reprehensible” conduct.

As Mr. Trump continues to emulate the bare-knuckle tactics he learned decades ago, he has alarmed Democrats who say his rantings against the whistle-blower will have a chilling effect in preventing people from coming forward in the future.

“This president’s comments about ‘spies and treason’ and ‘what we used to do in the old days’ are totally unacceptable and will do serious damage far beyond this news cycle,” Senator Mark Warner, Democrat of Virginia, said on Twitter on Monday. “The whole reason we have whistle-blower protections is so intelligence professionals can report wrongdoing without fear of retaliation.”

Representative Maxine Waters, a California Democrat who has long been targeted by the president at his rallies — taunts she has said have led to death threats — said on Tuesday that Republicans had not done enough to curb Mr. Trump’s behavior.

“I’m calling on the GOP to stop Trump’s filthy talk of whistleblowers being spies & using mob language implying they should be killed,” Ms. Waters said on Twitter. “Impeachment is not good enough for Trump.”

Trump Seeks Whistle-Blower’s Identity

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Trump Attacks Whistle-Blower’s Sources and Alludes to Punishment for Spies

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Trump Lashes Out After Reports of ‘Quiet Resistance’ by Staff

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To Trump, ‘Leakers Are Traitors and Cowards,’ and He Wants to Find Them

April 26, 2019

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As Impeachment Fights Begin, Administration and Congress Clash Over Deposition

WASHINGTON — The Trump administration clashed on Tuesday with leaders of the House impeachment inquiry over their demands to question State Department officials who might have witnessed President Trump’s efforts to pressure Ukraine for political advantage.

In the first skirmish in what promises to be an epic impeachment struggle between the executive and legislative branches, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo lashed out at three congressional committees that are seeking to depose diplomats involved in American policy toward Ukraine. Mr. Pompeo called their demands for confidential interviews “an act of intimidation.”

The House postponed the first of the depositions, which had been scheduled for Wednesday with the former United States ambassador to Ukraine, but not before the impeachment inquiry’s leaders upbraided Mr. Pompeo for questioning their work and for asserting that their bid to swiftly schedule depositions did not allow enough time for a proper response.

The latest standoff unfolded as lawmakers were unexpectedly put on notice on Tuesday afternoon that they could soon be provided with new evidence related to the State Department and Ukraine — a twist that could add crucial information to their investigation and, potentially, complicate Mr. Trump’s efforts to block it.

The department’s independent watchdog wrote to several House and Senate committees to request a last-minute meeting on Wednesday “to discuss and provide staff with copies of documents,” according to an invitation reviewed by The New York Times.

It said the documents had been given to the inspector general, Steve A. Linick, by the State Department’s acting legal adviser, but did not provide additional information or indicate whether Mr. Pompeo was aware of the action. Mr. Linick’s office has not responded to calls or emails seeking comment for two days.

The bitter back-and-forth only one week after the House started its impeachment inquiry foreshadowed what could be a consequential fight between the administration and House Democrats. They are determined to quickly nail down facts at the heart of a whistle-blower complaint detailing Mr. Trump’s attempts to press Ukraine’s leader to help smear Joseph R. Biden Jr., the former vice president.

The White House is just as determined to thwart — or at least slow — the investigation, falling back on the approach it has used to stonewall efforts by Congress to delve into episodes detailed by Robert S. Mueller III, the special counsel who investigated Russia’s interference in the 2016 election.

Mr. Trump himself, indignant as the new inquiry intensified, kept his focus on the anonymous whistle-blower whose complaint prompted the House to open it. In a series of tweets, the president asked why he was not “entitled to interview” the person and suggested that Representative Adam B. Schiff, Democrat of California and the chairman of the Intelligence Committee, should be arrested. And later, Mr. Trump tweeted that he was being targeted by a “COUP, intended to take away the Power of the People.”

In a joint statement, the chairmen of the House Intelligence, Foreign Affairs and Oversight and Reform Committees scoffed at Mr. Pompeo’s suggestion of intimidation, charging that it was the secretary who was “intimidating department witnesses in order to protect himself and the president.” Blocking them from showing up as scheduled, they added, would constitute obstruction of Congress’s work — an action Democrats view as an impeachable offense itself.

A House aide said the deposition of the former ambassador, Marie L. Yovanovitch, would now take place on Oct. 11. It was unclear if the State Department had approved that later appearance or if Ms. Yovanovitch, who was recalled to Washington last May, was acting on her own.

The aide, who spoke anonymously to discuss private legal deliberations, also said that Kurt D. Volker, the former United States special envoy to Ukraine, had confirmed to lawmakers that he would appear on Thursday for his deposition as scheduled. Mr. Volker resigned his State Department post on Friday, the same day the demand for his testimony was issued.

The State Department declined to say if it would try to block other depositions.

“Any effort to intimidate witnesses or prevent them from talking with Congress — including State Department employees — is illegal and will constitute evidence of obstruction of the impeachment inquiry,” Mr. Schiff; Representative Eliot L. Engel, the chairman of the Foreign Affairs Committee; and Representative Elijah E. Cummings, the chairman of the Oversight and Reform Committee said in their statement. “In response, Congress may infer from this obstruction that any withheld documents and testimony would reveal information that corroborates the whistle-blower complaint.”

Later Tuesday, the chairmen sent a letter to Mr. Pompeo’s deputy, stating that they believed Mr. Pompeo had an “obvious conflict of interest” because of news reports that he listened in on a July phone call in which Mr. Trump pressed President Volodymyr Zelensky of Ukraine to conduct investigations that would bolster Mr. Trump politically. They said they would no longer communicate with Mr. Pompeo about other witnesses.

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Protesters last week at a rally on Capitol Hill calling for the impeachment of President Trump.CreditAnna Moneymaker/The New York Times

“Given the secretary’s own potential role, and reports of other State Department officials being involved in or knowledgeable of the events under investigation,” they wrote, “the committee may infer that he is trying to cover up illicit activity and misconduct, including by the president.”

Rudolph W. Giuliani, Mr. Trump’s private lawyer, who is named in the whistle-blower complaint as a point man in the president’s efforts to pressure Ukraine’s government, has retained his own lawyer for the escalating inquiry.

Mr. Trump also continued an acerbic offensive against Mr. Schiff, questioning why the congressman was not “being brought up on charges for fraudulently making up a statement and reading it to Congress.” He was referring to remarks Mr. Schiff made last week during a hearing in which he dramatized the July phone call.

The online venting came a day after Mr. Trump said the White House was trying to find out the whistle-blower’s identity, despite institutional directives and confidentiality protections. In addition to interviewing the “so-called ‘Whistleblower,’” Mr. Trump tweeted on Tuesday, he would also like to interview “the person who gave all of the false information to him.”

Without mentioning Mr. Trump by name, Senator Charles E. Grassley of Iowa, the most senior Senate Republican and a longtime champion of whistle-blower laws, said the government and the news media “should always work to respect whistle-blowers’ requests for confidentiality.”

“No one should be making judgments or pronouncements without hearing from the whistle-blower first and carefully following up on the facts,” Mr. Grassley said in a written statement from Iowa, where he underwent surgery this week. “Uninformed speculation wielded by politicians or media commentators as a partisan weapon is counterproductive and doesn’t serve the country.”

Mr. Grassley also pushed back against a claim frequently repeated by Mr. Trump and his allies that the whistle-blower was a “fraud” because he was not a firsthand observer of the events he described in his complaint.

“Complaints based on secondhand information should not be rejected out of hand,” Mr. Grassley said, “but they do require additional legwork to get at the facts and evaluate the claim’s credibility.”

Mr. Trump’s strongest allies rushed to his defense, denouncing House Democrats for pursuing the impeachment investigation.

During an appearance on Fox Business Network, Peter Navarro, Mr. Trump’s trade adviser, compared the Democrats to Soviet-era secret police and their effort to an “attempted coup d’état.” He also likened them three foreign adversaries: Russia, China and Iran.

Democrats were no less hyperbolic.

On Twitter, Representative Maxine Waters, Democrat of California and a committee chairwoman, implored Republicans to halt Mr. Trump’s “filthy talk of whistleblowers being spies & using mob language implying they should be killed.” But in the same message, she added that the president “needs to be imprisoned & placed in solitary confinement.”

In a letter and a pair of tweets sent from Rome shortly after meeting with President Sergio Mattarella of Italy, Mr. Pompeo described the Sept. 27 demand for the senior State Department officials’ testimony as “an attempt to intimidate, bully and treat improperly” American diplomats.

“Let me be clear: I will not tolerate such tactics, and I will use all means at my disposal to prevent and expose any attempts to intimidate the dedicated professionals whom I am proud to lead and serve alongside at the Department of State,” he tweeted.

Other State Department employees who have been called for depositions by the House are George P. Kent, a deputy assistant secretary of state for European and Eurasian affairs; T. Ulrich Brechbuhl, a State Department counselor; and Gordon Sondland, the ambassador to the European Union.

In his letter — to Mr. Engel, Democrat of New York — Mr. Pompeo said the witnesses would not testify without Trump administration lawyers present. He also said the request did not leave the witnesses enough time to prepare for their interviews under oath.

But he did not rule out allowing the witnesses to talk to House investigators, and said the State Department would respond to a subpoena he received from the committees on Friday for documents by the Oct. 4 deadline.

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