President Donald Trump said Thursday that he might end the long-running practice of letting national security and foreign service staffs listen in on presidential calls with foreign leaders after a July call with the president of Ukraine triggered his impeachment in the House.
Trump complained about House impeachment inquiry witness Lt. Col. Alexander Vindman during a radio interview with Geraldo Rivera, accusing him of being “insubordinate” by raising concerns about the president’s conduct on the July 25 call.
“Why are so many people allowed to listen to your phone calls anyway?” Rivera asked.
“Well, that’s what they’ve done over the years,” Trump said. “When you call a foreign leader, people listen. I may end the practice entirely. I may end it entirely.”
“As is standard practice in any administration, White House staffers, working in the secure, soundproof Situation Room in the West Wing basement, listened in and chronicled the conversation. National Security Council personnel then prepared a memorandum about the call, which serves as an official record,” the New York Times reports.
Trump’s call with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky triggered the House’s impeachment inquiry after a whistleblower raised concerns that the president was pressuring Zelensky to investigate his political rivals while holding up hundreds of millions of dollars in military aid to Ukraine.