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Photo: Saul Loeb/AFP/Getty Images

A whistleblower complaint released by the House Intelligence Committee on Thursday alleges that President Trump used the power of his office to solicit foreign interference from Ukraine for the purpose of helping his 2020 re-election campaign.

The big picture: The allegations detailed in the complaint go beyond the summary of the phone call between Trump and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky released by the White House on Wednesday.

  • While the call is still core to the whistleblower's concerns, the complaint also lays out a pattern of behavior stretching back months that involves Trump, his personal attorney Rudy Giuliani, Attorney General Bill Barr and White House officials alarmed at what they're being asked to do.
The takeaways

1. Much of the information laid out in the report was exposed over the past weeks and months by reporters at the New York Times, Washington Post, Wall Street Journal and others — not to mention the fact that Trump himself also confirmed to the public that he had brought up the possibility of investigating Joe Biden in his call with Zelensky.

  • The whistleblower was not a direct witness to the phone call and alleged actions, but their description of the call, which was based on information from multiple White House officials, aligns with the memo released by the White House.

2. One of the main concerns that prompted the whistleblower to report their complaint was the White House's handling of the transcript of the Trump-Zelensky phone call. They allege that the White House attempted to "lock down" the summary in a sensitive computer system designed to hold national security information.

  • The complaint states that a White House official called this action "an act of abuse" because the call "did not contain anything remotely sensitive from a national security perspective" — supported by the fact that the released memo did not include any notable redactions.

3. Multiple U.S. officials told the whistleblower that Ukrainian leadership was "led to believe" that a phone call or meeting between Trump and Zelensky would depend on whether Zelensky showed a willingness to "play ball" on issues related to investigating Joe Biden for corruption.

4. An initial review by Intelligence Community Inspector General Michael Atkinson found that despite "arguable political bias," he determined that the whistleblower complaint "appears credible." The Justice Department later blocked acting Director of National Intelligence Joseph Maguire from turning over the complaint to Congress.

Go deeper: Read the complaint with summaries of each section

Go deeper

Updated 2 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Annelise Capossela/Axios

  1. Health: CDC director defends agency's response to pandemic — CDC warns highly transmissible coronavirus variant could become dominant in U.S. in March.
  2. Politics: Biden readies massive shifts in policy for his first days in office.
  3. Vaccine: Fauci: 100 million doses in 100 days is "absolutely" doable.
  4. Economy: Unemployment filings explode again.
  5. Tech: Kids' screen time sees a big increase.
  6. World: WHO team arrives in China to investigate pandemic origins.
Dave Lawler, author of World
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Navalny and his wife shortly before he was detained. Photo: Kirill Kudryavtsev/AFP via Getty

Russian opposition leader Alexey Navalny was detained upon his return to Moscow on Sunday, which came five months after he was poisoned with the nerve agent Novichok. He returned despite being warned that he would be arrested.

The latest: Navalny was stopped at a customs checkpoint and led away alone by officers. He appeared to hug his wife goodbye, and his spokesman reports that his lawyer was not allowed to accompany him.

Mike Allen, author of AM
5 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Biden's "overwhelming force" doctrine

President-elect Biden arrives to introduce his science team in Wilmington yesterday. Photo: Kevin Lamarque/Reuters

President-elect Biden has ordered up a shock-and-awe campaign for his first days in office to signal, as dramatically as possible, the radical shift coming to America and global affairs, his advisers tell us. 

The plan, Part 1 ... Biden, as detailed in a "First Ten Days" memo from incoming chief of staff Ron Klain, plans to unleash executive orders, federal powers and speeches to shift to a stark, national plan for "100 million shots" in three months.