Trump Claims Whistle-Blower Has ‘Conflict’: Impeachment Update

President Donald Trump won’t cooperate with House Democrats’ impeachment inquiry, White House counsel Pat Cipollone said in a letter to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi that called the investigation “unauthorized” and “invalid.”

Here are the latest developments:

Trump Claims Whistle-Blower ‘Conflict of Interest’ (7:45 a.m.)

Trump attacked the unnamed whistle-blower whose complaint is a part of the House impeachment inquiry as having a “conflict of interest.”

Trump, in a Wednesday morning tweet, seized on a claim being made in conservative media that the whistle-blower had “involvement with a Democratic Candidate” and called for the unidentified U.S. intelligence community employee to be “exposed and questioned properly.”

“The Whistleblower’s lawyer is a big Democrat. The Whistleblower has ties to one of my DEMOCRAT OPPONENTS. Why does the ICIG allow this scam to continue?” the president said in another tweet.

Michael Atkinson, the inspector general for the intelligence community, acknowledged the whistle-blower has “arguable political bias” in favor of a rival candidate in an Aug. 26 report but said it did not undermine the credibility of his complaint. The whistle-blower’s complaint “appears credible,” Atkinson said in the report.

Portions of the whistle-blower’s complaints have already been substantiated by the White House release of a summary of a July 25 phone call in which Trump urged Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy to investigate former Vice President Joe Biden, now a 2020 political opponent.

Key Events

  • A senior administration who briefed reporters Tuesday said the administration will halt all participation in the inquiry, including declining to provide documents, even those sought by subpoena, or make officials available to give testimony. The official didn’t rule out cooperating if circumstances changed.
  • House Republicans met with Trump after being blindsided by the administration’s decision to prevent Gordon Sondland, U.S. ambassador to the European Union, from testifying in the inquiry. The administration committed to work more closely with congressional Republicans on the inquiry.
  • Three House committees subpoenaed Sondland to testify on Oct. 16 and to produce records from his personal devices two days earlier.

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