Important passages have been highlighted:
Blue = stunning/unbelievable
Any exaggerations in color-coding and omissions
are mine alone.
I suggest that you also read the Footnotes
and Classified Index (both at the end of the whistleblower memo) because some
bombshells can be found there as well
Committee on Intelligence
Committee on Intelligence
House of Representatives
Burr and Chairman Schiff:
I am reporting an “urgent
in accordance with the procedures outlined in 50 U.S.C.
3033(k)(5)(A). This letter is UNCLASSIFIED when separated from the attachment.
In the course of my official duties, I have received information from
multiple U.S. Government officials 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. This
interference includes, among other things, pressuring a foreign country to
investigate one of the President’s main domestic political rivals. The
President’s personal lawyer, Mr. Rudolph Giuliani, is a central figure in this
effort. Attorney General Barr appears to be involved as well.
Over the past four months, more than half a
dozen U.S. officials have informed me of various facts related to this effort.
The information provided herein was relayed to me in the course of official
interagency business. It is routine for U.S. officials with responsibility for
a particular regional or functional portfolio to share such information with
one another in order to inform policymaking and analysis.
I was not a direct witness to most of the events described. However, I
found my colleagues’ accounts of these events to be credible because, in almost
all cases, multiple officials recounted fact patterns that were consistent with
one another. In addition, a variety of information consistent with these
private accounts has been reported publicly.
I am deeply concerned that the actions described below constitute a
serious or flagrant problem, abuse, or violation of law or “Executive Order”
that “does not include differences of opinions concerning public policy
matters.” consistent with the definition of an “urgent concern” in 50 U.S.C. I
am therefore fulfilling my duty to report this information, through proper
legal channels, to the relevant authorities.
I am also concerned that these actions pose
risks to U.S. national security and undermine the U.S. Government’s efforts to
deter and counter foreign interference in U.S. elections.
To the best of my knowledge, the entirety of this statement is
unclassified when separated from the classified enclosure. I have endeavored to
apply the classification standards outlined in Executive Order (EO) 13526 and
to separate out information that I know or have reason to believe is classified
for national security purposes. (1)
If a classification marking is applied
retroactively, I believe it is incumbent upon the classifying authority to
explain why such a marking was applied, and to which specific information it
I. The 25 July Presidential phone
Early in the morning of 25 July, the President spoke by telephone with
Ukrainian President Zelenskyy. I do not know which side initiated the call.
This was the first publicly acknowledged call between the two leaders since a
brief congratulatory call after Mr. Zelenskyy won the presidency on 21 April.
Multiple White House
officials with direct knowledge of the call informed me that, after an initial
exchange of pleasantries, the President used the remainder of the call to
advance his personal interests. Namely, he sought to pressure the Ukrainian leader to take
actions to help the President’s 2020 reelection bid.
the White House officials who had direct knowledge of the call, the President
pressured Mr. Zelenskyy to, inter alia:
initiate or continue an investigation
(2) into the activities of former Vice
President Joseph Biden and his son, Hunter Biden;
assist in purportedly uncovering that allegations of Russian interference
in the 2016 US. presidential election originated in Ukraine, with a specific
request that the Ukrainian leader locate and turn over servers used by the
Democratic National Committee (DNC) and examined by the U.S. cyber security
(3) which initially reported that Russian hackers had penetrated the
networks in 2016; and
meet or Speak with two people the President named explicitly as his
personal envoys on these matters, Mr. Giuliani and Attorney General Barr, to
whom the President referred multiple times in tandem.
The President also praised
Ukraine’s Prosecutor General, Mr. Yuriy Lutsenko, and suggested that Mr.
Zelenskyy might want to keep him in his position. (Note: Starting in March
2019, Mr. Lutsenko made a series of public allegations — many of which he later
walked back — about the Biden family’s activities in Ukraine, Ukrainian
officials’ purported involvement in the 2016 US. election, and the activities
of the US. Embassy in Kyiv.
(See Part IV for additional context.)
The White House officials who told me this information were deeply
disturbed by what had transpired in the phone call. They told me that there was
already a discussion ongoing with White House lawyers about how to treat the
call because of the likelihood, in the officials’ retelling, that they had
witnessed the President abuse his office for personal gain.
The Ukrainian side
was the first to publicly acknowledge the phone call. On the evening of 25
July, a readout was posted on the website of the Ukrainian President that
contained the following line (translation from original Russian-language
“Donald Trump expressed his conviction that the new Ukrainian
government will be able to quickly improve Ukraine’s image and complete the
investigation of corruption cases that have held back cooperation between
Ukraine and the United States.”
Aside from the above-mentioned “cases”
purportedly dealing with the Biden family and the 2016 US election, I was told
by White House officials that no other “cases” were discussed.
Based on my understanding, there were approximately a dozen White House
officials who listened to the call — a mixture of policy officials and duty
officers in the White House Situation Room, as is customary. The officials I
spoke with told me that participation in the call had not been restricted in
advance because everyone expected it would be a “routine” call with a foreign
leader. I do not know whether anyone was physically present with the President
during the call.
In addition to White House personnel, I was told
that a State Department official, Mr. T. Ulrich Brechbuhl, also listened in on
I was not the only non-White House official to
receive a readout of the call. Based on my understanding, multiple State
Department and Intelligence Community officials were also briefed on the
contents of the call as outlined above.
II. Efforts to restrict access to
records related to the call
In the days following the phone call, I learned from multiple US.
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. This set of actions underscored to
me that White House officials understood the gravity of what had transpired in
White House officials told me that 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.
Instead, the transcript was loaded into a separate electronic system
that is otherwise used to store and handle classified information of an
especially sensitive nature. One White House official described this act as an abuse of this
electronic system because the call did not contain anything remotely sensitive
from a national security perspective.
I do not know
whether similar measures were taken to restrict access to other records of the
call, such as contemporaneous handwritten notes taken by those who listened in.
On 26 July, a day after the call, US. Special Representative for Ukraine
Negotiations Kurt Volker visited Kyiv and met with President and a variety of
Ukrainian political figures. Ambassador Volker was accompanied in his meetings
by US. Ambassador to the European Union Gordon Sondland. Based on multiple readouts of
these meetings recounted to me by various US. officials, Ambassadors Volker and
Sondland reportedly provided advice to the Ukrainian leadership about how to “navigate”
the demands that the President had made of Mr. Zelenskyy.
I also learned from multiple US. officials that, on or about 2 August, Mr. Giuliani reportedly traveled
to Madrid to meet with one of President advisers, Andriy Yermak. The US.
officials characterized this meeting, which was not reported publicly at the
time, as a “direct follow-up” to the President’s call with Mr. Zelenskyy
about the “cases” they had discussed
Separately, multiple US. officials told me that Mr. Giuliani had
reportedly privately reached out to a variety of other advisers, including
Chief of Staff Andriy Bohdan and Acting Chairman of the Security Service of
Ukraine Ivan Bakanov
I do not know whether those officials met or
spoke with Mr. Giuliani, but I was told separately-by multiple US. officials that
Mr. Yermak and Mr. Bakanov
intended to travel to Washington in mid-August.
On 9 August, the President told reporters: “I think [President Zelenskyy] is going to make a deal
with President Putin, and he will be invited to the White House. And we look
forward to seeing him. He’s already been invited to the White House, and he
wants to come. And I think he will. He’s a very reasonable guy. He wants to see
peace in Ukraine, and I think he will be coming very soon, actually.”
IV. Circumstances leading up to the
25 July Presidential phone call
Beginning in late March 2019, a series of articles appeared in an online
publication called The Hill
. In these articles, several Ukrainian
officials — most notably, Prosecutor General Yuriy Lutsenko — made a series of
allegations against other Ukrainian officials and current and former US.
officials. Mr. Lutsenko and his colleagues alleged, inter alia:
that they possessed evidence that Ukrainian officials — namely, Head of
the National Anticorruption Bureau of Ukraine Artem and Member of Parliament
Serhiy Leshchenko — had “interfered” in the 2016 US. presidential election,
allegedly in collaboration with the DNC and the US. Embassy in Kyiv
That the US. Embassy in Kyiv — specifically, US. Ambassador Marie Yovanovitch,
who had criticized Mr. Lutsenko’s organization for its poor record on fighting
corruption — had allegedly obstructed Ukrainian law enforcement agencies’
pursuit of corruption cases, including by providing a “do not prosecute” list,
and had blocked Ukrainian prosecutors from traveling to the United States
expressly to prevent them from delivering their “evidence” about the 2016 US.
that former Vice President Biden had pressured former Ukrainian
President Petro Poroshenko in 2016 to fire then Ukrainian Prosecutor General
Viktor Shokin in order to quash a purported criminal probe into Burisma
Holdings, a Ukrainian energy company on whose board the former Vice President's
son, Hunter, sat.
In several public comments
(8), Mr. Lutsenko also stated that he
wished to communicate directly with Attorney General Barr on these matters
The allegations by Mr. Lutsenko came on the eve of the first round of
Ukraine’s presidential election on 31 March. By that time, Mr. Lutsenko’s
political patron, President Poroshenko, was trailing Mr. Zelenskyy in the polls
and appeared likely to be defeated. Mr. Zelenskyy had made known his desire to
replace Mr. Lutsenko as Prosecutor General. On 21 April, Mr. Poroshenko lost
the runoff to Mr. Zelenskyy by a landslide. See Enclosure for additional
It was also publicly reported that Mr. Giuliani had met on at least two
occasions with Mr. Lutsenko: once in New York in late January and again in
Warsaw in mid-February. In addition, it was publicly reported that Mr. Giuliani
had spoken in late 2018 to former Prosecutor General Shokin, in a Skype call
arranged by two associates of Mr. Giuliani
On 25 April in an interview with Fox News, the President called
Mr. Lutsenko’s claims “big” and “incredible” and stated that the Attorney
General “would want to see this.”
On or about 29
April, I learned from US. officials with direct knowledge of the situation that
Ambassador Yovanovitch had been suddenly recalled to Washington by senior State
Department officials for “consultations” and would most likely be removed from
Around the same time, I also learned from a US
official that “associates”
of Mr. Giuliani were trying to make contact with the incoming Zelenskyy team
On 6 May, the State Department announced that
Ambassador Yovanovitch would be ending her assignment in Kyiv “as planned.”
However, several US officials told me that, in
fact, her tour was curtailed because of pressure stemming from Mr. Lutsenko’s
allegations. Mr. Giuliani
subsequently stated in an interview with a Ukrainian journalist published on 14
May that Ambassador Yovanovitch was “removed. . .because she was part of the
efforts against the President.”
On 9 May, The New
York Times reported that Mr. Giuliani planned to travel to Ukraine to press
the Ukrainian government to pursue investigations that would help the President
in his 2020 reelection bid
In his multitude of public statements leading up
to and in the wake of the publication of this article, Mr. Giuliani confirmed that he was focused on
encouraging Ukrainian authorities to pursue investigations into alleged
Ukrainian interference in the 2016 US. election and alleged wrongdoing by the
On the afternoon of 10 May, the President stated
in an interview with Politico that he planned to speak with Mr. Giuliani about
A few hours later, Mr. Giuliani publicly canceled his trip, claiming that
Mr. Zelesnkyy was “surrounded by enemies of the of the United States.”
On 11 May, Mr. Lutsenko met for two hours with President-elect according
to a public account given several days later by Mr. Lutsenko. Mr. Lutsenko
publicly stated that he had told Mr. Zelenskyy that he wished to remain as
Starting in mid-May, I heard from multiple US officials that they were
deeply concerned by what they viewed as Mr. Giuliani’s circumvention of
national security decision-making processes to engage with Ukrainian officials
and relay messages back and forth between Kyiv and the President. These officials
also told me:
that State Department officials, including Ambassadors Volker and
Sondland, had spoken with Mr. Giuliani in an attempt to “contain the damage” to
US. national security; and
that Ambassadors Volker and Sondland during this time period met with
members of the new Ukrainian administration and, in addition to discussing
policy matters, sought to help Ukrainian leaders understand and respond to the
differing messages they were receiving from official US channels on the one hand,
and from Mr. Giuliani on the other.
During this same
timeframe, multiple US. officials told me that the Ukrainian leadership was led
to believe that a
meeting or phone call between the President and President would depend on
whether Zelenskyy showed willingness to “play ball” on the issues that had been
publicly aired by Mr. Lutsenko and Mr. Giuliani.
(Note: This was the
general understanding of the state of affairs as conveyed to me by US.
officials from late May into early July. I do not know who delivered this message
to the Ukrainian leadership, or when.) See Enclosure for additional
Shortly after President Zelenskyy’s inauguration, it was publicly
reported that Mr. Giuliani met with two other Ukrainian officials: Ukraine’s
Special Anticorruption Prosecutor, Mr. Nazar and a former Ukrainian diplomat
named Andriy Telizhenko. Both Mr. and Mr. Telizhenko are allies of Mr. Lutsenko
and made similar allegations in the above-mentioned series of articles in The
On 13 June, the
President told George Stephanopoulos that he would accept damaging information
on his political rivals from a foreign government.
On 21 June, Mr.
Giuliani tweeted: “New Pres of Ukraine still silent on investigation of
Ukrainian interference in 2016 and alleged Biden bribery of Poroshenko. Time
for leadership and investigate both if you want to purge how Ukraine was abused
by Hillary and Clinton people.”
In mid-July, I learned of a sudden change of policy with respect to US.
assistance for Ukraine. See Enclosure for additional information.
1. Apart from
the information in the Enclosure, it is my belief that none of the information
contained herein meets the definition of classified information outlined in E0
13526, Part 1, Section 1.1. There is ample open source information about the
efforts I describe below, including statements by the President and Mr.
Giuliani. In addition, based on my personal observations, there is discretion with
respect to the classification of private comments by or instructions from the
President, including his communications with foreign leaders; information that
is not related to US. foreign policy or national security such as the
information contained in this document, when separated from the Enclosure Is
generally treated as unclassified. I also believe that applying a classification marking to this
information would violate EO 13526, Part 1, Section 1.7, which states: “In no case shall information be classified, continue
to be maintained as classified, or fail to be declassified in order to: (I)
conceal violations of law, inefficiency, or administrative error; [or] (2)
prevent embarrassment to a person, organization, or agency.”
2. It is
unclear whether such a Ukrainian investigation exists. See Footnote #7 for
3.I do not
know why the President associates these servers with Ukraine. (See, for
example, his comments to Fox News
on 20 July: “And Ukraine. Take a look
at Ukraine. How come the FBI didn’t take this server? Podesta told them to get
out. He said, get out. So, how come the FBI didn't take the server from the DNC”)
4. In a report published by the
Organized Crime and Corruption Reporting Project (OCCRP) on 22 July, two
associates of Mr. Giuliani reportedly traveled to Kyiv in May 2019 and met with
Mr. Bakanov and another close Zelenskyy adviser, Mr. Serhiy Shefir.
5. Mr. Sytnyk
and Mr. Leshchenko are two of Mr. Lutsenk’s main domestic rivals. Mr. Lutsenko has no legal
training and has been widely criticized in Ukraine for politicizing criminal
probes and using his tenure as Prosecutor General to protect corrupt Ukrainian
He has publicly feuded with Mr. Sytnyk who heads Ukraine’s
only competent anticorruption body, and with Mr. Leshchenko, a former
investigative journalist who has repeatedly criticized Mr. Lutsenko’s record.
In December 2018, a Ukrainian court upheld a complaint by a Member of
Parliament, Mr. Boryslav Rozenblat, who alleged that Mr. and Mr. Leshchenko had
“interfered” in the 2016 US. election by publicizing a document detailing
corrupt payments made by former Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych before
his ouster in 2014. Mr. Rozenblat had originally led the motion in late 2017
after attempting to flee Ukraine amid an investigation into his taking of a
large bribe. On 16 July 2019, Mr. Leshchenko publicly stated that a Ukrainian
court had overturned the lower court’s decision.
Lutsenko later told Ukrainian news outlet The Babel
on 17 April that
Ambassador Yovanovitch had never provided such a list, and that he was, in
fact, the one who requested such a list.
7. Mr. Lutsenko later told Bloomberg
on 16 May that former Vice President Biden and his son were not subject to any
current Ukrainian investigations, and that he had no evidence against them.
Other senior Ukrainian officials also contested his original allegations; one
former senior Ukrainian prosecutor told Bloomberg on 7 May that Mr.
Shokin in fact was not investigating Burisma at the time of his removal in
8. See, for example, Mr. Lutsenko’s
comments to The Hill on 1 and 7 April and his interview with The
Babel on 17 April, in which he stated that he had spoken with Mr. Giuliani
about arranging contact with Attorney General Barr.
9. In May, Attorney General Barr
announced that he was initiating a probe into the “origins” of the Russia
According to the above-referenced OCCRP report (22 July),
two associates of Mr. Giuliani claimed to be working with Ukrainian officials
to uncover information that would become part of this inquiry. In an interview with Fox News
on 8 August, Mr. Giuliani claimed that Mr. John Durham, whom Attorney General
Barr designated to lead this probe, was “spending a lot of time in Europe”
because he was “investigating Ukraine.” I do not know the extent to which, if
at all, Mr. Giuliani is directly coordinating his efforts on Ukraine with
Attorney General Barr or Mr. Durham
10. See, for
example, the above-referenced articles in Bloomberg
(16 May) and OCCRP
11. I do not
know whether these associates of Mr. Giuliani were the same individuals named
in the 22 July report by OCCRP, referenced above.
12. See, for
example, Mr. Giuliani’s appearance on Fox News
on 6 April and his tweets
on 23 April and 10 May. In
his interview with The New York Times, Mr. Giuliani stated that the
President “basically knows what I’m doing, sure, as his lawyer.” Mr. Giuliani also stated: “We
are not meddling in an election, we’re meddling in an investigation, which we
have a right to do … There's nothing illegal about it … Somebody could say it’s
improper. And this isn’t foreign policy — I’m asking them to do an
investigation that they’re doing already and that other people are telling them
to stop. And I’m
going to give them reasons why they shouldn’t stop it because that information
will be very, very
helpful to my client,
] and may turn out
to be helpful to my government.”
CLASSIFIED APPENDIX [With
Additional information related to Section
) According to multiple White House
officials I spoke with, the transcript of the President’s call with President
Zelenskyy was placed into a computer system managed directly by the National
Security Council (NSC) Directorate for Intelligence Programs. This is a
standalone computer system reserved for codeword-level intelligence
information, such as covert action. According to information I received from
White House officials, some officials voiced concerns internally that this
would be an abuse of the system and was not consistent with the
responsibilities of the Directorate for Intelligence Programs. According to White House officials I
spoke with, this was “not the first time” under this Administration that a
Presidential transcript was placed into this codeword-level system solely for
the propose of protecting politically sensitive — rather than national security
sensitive — information
Additional Information related to
) I would like to
expand upon two issues mentioned under Section IV that might have a connection
with the overall effort to pressure the Ukrainian leadership. As I do not know
definitively whether the below-mentioned decisions are connected to the broader
efforts I describe, I have chosen to include them in the classified annex. If
they indeed represent genuine policy deliberations and decisions formulated to
advance U.S. foreign policy and national security, one might be able to make a
reasonable case that the facts are classified.
) I learned from US officials that, on or around 14 May,
the President instructed Vice President Mike Pence to cancel his planned travel
to Ukraine to attend President Zelenskyy’s inauguration on May 20; Secretary of
Energy Rick Perry led the delegation instead.
According to these
officials, it was also “made
clear” to them that the President did not want to meet Mr. Zelenskyy until he
saw how Zelenskyy “chose to act” in office.
I do not know how this
guidance was communicated, or by whom. I also do not know whether this action
was connected with the broader understanding, described in the unclassified letter,
that a meeting or phone call between the President and President Zelenskyy
would depend on whether Zelenskyy showed willingness to “play ball” on the
issues that that had been publicly aired by Mr. Lutsenko and Mr. Giuliani.
) On 18 July, an Office of Management and Budget (OMB)
official informed Departments and Agencies that the president “earlier that
month” had issued instructions to suspend all U.S. security assistance to
OMB nor the NSC staff knew why this instruction had been issued
. During interagency meetings on 23
July and 26 July, OMB officials again stated explicitly that the instruction to
suspend this assistance had come directly from the President
they were still unaware of policy rationale. As of early August, I heard from
U.S. officials that some Ukranian officials might be in jeopardy, but I do not
know how or when they learned from it.
Documents Related to the Case:
about the Trump-Ukraine call and the whistleblower complaint: