A White House official who listened to President Donald Trump’s July 25 phone call with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy described the call as “crazy” and “frightening” and was “visibly shaken,” according to notes taken by the intelligence official who filed a formal whistleblower complaint that kickstarted a House impeachment inquiry.
According to ABC News, the two-page memo was written by the whistleblower after speaking with the White House official a day after Trump’s call.
The memo suggests that at least one aide to Trump feared that the president’s own words in the call were damning.
According to a summary transcript of the call released by the White House, Trump asked Zelenskiy to launch an investigation into Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden, and his son, Hunter Biden.
“The notes were based on a brief conversation between the whistleblower and the White House official and described ‘highlights’ from the president’s call. The document was later provided to the intelligence community’s inspector general, who reviewed the whistleblower’s complaint. The IG has determined the complaint ‘appeared credible’ and of ‘urgent concern,'” reports ABC News.
“The President urged Zelenskiy to investigate the Bidens and stated that [Trump’s personal attorney Rudy] Giuliani would discuss this topic further with Zelenskiy during his trip to Kyiv,” the unnamed White House official told the first whistleblower, according to the notes.
“The official, who listened to the entirety of the phone call, was visibly shaken by what had transpired and seemed keen to inform a trusted colleague within the U.S. national security apparatus about the call,” the whistleblower writes in the memo.
The memo states the official “described the call as “crazy,” “frightening,” and completely lacking in substance related to national security.”
After the call, the whistleblower says “I … returned to my office, and wrote up my best recollection of what I had heard.” The person notes that they did not review the call transcript or written notes, “but the official informed me they exist.”
ABC News reports:
The official recalled to the whistleblower that the president also asked the Ukranian leader about “Crowdstrike server” a reference to a debunked theory that Ukraine is holding Hillary Clinton’s missing emails, and that it was the Ukraine, not Russia, that was behind the interference in the 2016 election. The White House official also correctly recalled that the president raised the issue of Burisma holdings, a company that employed Vice President Joe Biden’s son, Hunter Biden.
Importantly, the whistleblower also documented suspicions from the White House official that notes or transcripts from the call were being protected in an unusual manner. ABC News has reported that the White House changed its practice of storing phone call transcripts with foreign leaders to avoid leaked by keeping them in secure servers with restricted access. It was unclear if those conversations, however, were being protected for reasons of national security or for political reasons.