Sep 30, 2019 - Politics & Policy

Misleading Trump tweet claims Ukraine whistleblower complaint "not holding up"

President Trump tweeted Monday that the Ukraine whistleblower's complaint is "mostly" about his call to Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky and that its account of the call is "a fraud" — 2 claims disproven by both the complaint itself and the memo of the call released by the White House.

"The Fake Whistleblower complaint is not holding up. It is mostly about the call to the Ukrainian President which, in the name of transparency, I immediately released to Congress & the public. The Whistleblower knew almost nothing, its 2ND HAND description of the call is a fraud!"

Reality check

The call only encompasses one of four sections of the whistleblower's complaint. The other sections allege that the Trump administration tried to hide Trump's call with Zelensky — and others like it — in a separate computer system for classified information and discuss the events leading up to the July 25 Zelensky call.

The complaint's section about the call is sourced to "multiple White House officials with direct knowledge of the call." It also includes 3 specific allegations about the call:

  1. Trump asked Zelensky to investigate the business dealings of former Vice President Joe Biden and his son, Hunter, in Ukraine.
  2. Trump asked Zelensky for help locating servers that could indicate that Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election actually originated in Ukraine, an allegation that originated in far-right conspiracy theories.
  3. Trump said that Zelensky should meet or speak with his personal attorney Rudy Giuliani and Attorney General Bill Barr to discuss these matters further.

Despite not having firsthand knowledge of the call, these 3 claims in the whistleblower's complaint were verified by the White House's release of the memo summarizing the Trump-Zelensky call.

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