US President Donald Trump has denied accusations that he made a promise to a foreign leader which sparked a complaint from an intelligence officer.
The Washington Post has reported that the officer found it “so troubling” they felt the need to inform the department’s inspector general.
The complaint was filed on 12 August and contains a “serious or flagrant problem, abuse of violation of law” that involves classified information, said intelligence community inspector general Michael Atkinson in a letter to lawmakers.
Trump has labelled reports of the complaint as “fake news”, but Democrats are trying to get it turned over to congress.
“Another Fake News story out there – It never ends!” Trump tweeted. “Virtually anytime I speak on the phone to a foreign leader, I understand that there may be many people listening from various U.S. agencies, not to mention those from the other country itself. No problem!
“Knowing all of this, is anybody dumb enough to believe that I would say something inappropriate with a foreign leader while on such a potentially “heavily populated” call. I would only do what is right anyway, and only do good for the USA!”
Adding that it was: “Presidential Harassment!”
It is not yet known who made the complaint, about which foreign leader it refers to, and what – if true – the alleged promise comprises.
Both the Post and New York Times report that the allegation is at least in part related to Ukraine, citing officials with knowledge of the situation.
Some senior Democrats had alleged prior to the complaint coming to light that Trump and his lawyer Rudy Giuliani had attempted “to manipulate the Ukrainian justice system to benefit the president’s re-election campaign and target a possible political opponent”.
Trump also held a phone call on 25 July with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy, two weeks prior to it being filed.
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The complaint has not yet been shared with congress because acting director of national intelligence (DNI), Joseph Macguire disagrees with Atkinson’s verdict that the complaint is urgent.
A letter from a lawyer in Macguire’s office said the complaint “does not meet the definition of urgent concern” and that it “concerned conduct by someone outside the intelligence community and did not relate to any ‘intelligence activity’ under the DNI’s supervision”.